The Press: Death at the Hospital

Nothing fails like success. Example: The Weekender, a shoestring weekly in Traverse City, Mich., that was mildly successful at reporting offbeat stories and doing a bit of gentle muckraking until last Aug. 11 at 6:30 a.m.

That was the hour when a General Motors tool repairman named Francis Cronk accepted a collect call from the Traverse City state hospital for mental patients. His mentally retarded son, John David Cronk, 26, had died. The hospital autopsy claimed ''acute pulmonary congestion." Dismayed, the Cronks ordered another autopsy by a private pathologist, Dr. Charles E. Black. His report was startling: death had resulted from severe...

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