Slow Death: Assaults That Turn Fatal Overlooked

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Teresa Rodriguez of Los Angeles died 37 days after she was shot by a robber. The Los Angeles Times says the case “illustrates one of the most excruciating and least visible aspects of urban homicide: Death is often slow.”

Victims like Rodriguez may longer on life support for weeks or months. In another Los Angeles case, a person died this year after being shot in 1994. Cops know that today’s nonfatal assault may turn into tomorrow’s murder. They avoid reassuring relatives at shooting scenes that their loved ones will be OK.

The Times traces the ups and downs of Rodriguez’ medical condition before she died. The slowness of such deaths may insure their anonymity. Only the victims, the families, and those who deal with such cases regularly are there to see the suffering. The attacks that caused the injuries usually are overlooked among scores of barely noted nonfatal assaults.


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