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La Grande Observer 11/28/14

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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow D.A.: WOMAN DIED OF NATURAL CAUSES



The district attorney has determined that a 54-year-old developmentally disabled

La Grande woman died of natural causes.

Marcyne Johnson died Monday at Grande Ronde Hospital.

"The medical examiner concluded that this was a natural death," said Union County District Attorney Russ West. "It was not accidental and no foreign objects were found. It was a bowel obstruction."

Johnson suffered from pica, a behavioral disorder that causes people to put foreign objects in their mouths.

"She (Johnson) was hospitalized," West said. "There was nothing to indicate she hadn't been properly cared for."

The medical examiner's autopsy report is preliminary, as further studies of tissue samples will be made in Salem, but West said he has no reason to expect that anything unusual will be found.

Dwight Dill, the county's protective services worker, said Friday that he is continuing to review the circumstances surrounding Johnson's death.

"We haven't stopped the process," Dill said. "I'm reviewing and if something in the review shows up, that could trigger a protective

services examination. We haven't opened a full-blown investigation."

Dill said he is authorized only to review the program that serves people with developmental disabilities and is not authorized to review any outside agencies, such as hospitals or ambulance services.

"I don't know if there are concerns (about medical care provided)," he said. "There are many rumors, but I can't conclude anything until I see the medical reports."

He said that if he were to find "something alarming" at any stage of the person's care, he could ask for a review of any other agencies that may have been involved.

"I don't know who would do that," he said, "but it would be a licensing authority."

The state's protective services authorities review complaints against providers and others who work directly with people with developmental disabilities.

— Alice Perry Linker


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