Monday, December 31, 2007
Photo of The Andy Warhol Diaries cover, taken by Eduardo Navas, December, 2007.
It was a great ride these past three years, working off-and-on with Andy's Diary. Not much one can say about the end of life, though. I prefer to close my final entry with the following NY Times article about the investigation of Andy's unfortunate death. I'll miss working on the diaries. May Andy rest in peace.
No Criminal Charges Brought by Inquiry On Death of Warhol
By KIRK JOHNSON
Published: August 1, 1987
LEAD: An investigation into the death of Andy Warhol has found ''insufficient evidence'' to bring criminal charges over Mr. Warhol's medical care, the Manhattan District Attorney's office said yesterday.
An investigation into the death of Andy Warhol has found ''insufficient evidence'' to bring criminal charges over Mr. Warhol's medical care, the Manhattan District Attorney's office said yesterday.
The office said that because of poor medical records kept in the hours before Mr. Warhol's death on Feb. 22 at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center and because of uncertainty about the effects of treatment he underwent before entering the hospital, the exact cause of the cardiac arrhythmia, or heart rhythm irregularity, that killed him could not be determined.
And because the ultimate cause of death could not be established, prosecutors said, the chain of reasoning that could lead to criminal charges was incomplete. Thus, the investigation did not finally clear up the uncertainties surrounding Mr. Warhol's death. They are still being examined in separate inquiries by state health officials and by Mr. Warhol's attorneys.
''In order to find criminal liability we would have to disprove that death was from natural causes; that was almost impossible in this case,'' said John W. Fried, the chief of the trial division at the prosecutor's office and the head of the investigative team that looked into Mr. Warhol's death.
Mr. Warhol, an artist of many mediums who was known for his paint-on-silk-screen renderings of celebrities, died a day after having surgery to remove an inflamed gallbladder.
The criminal investigation was prompted in April, after the city's Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Elliot M. Gross, said the circumstances and questions surrounding Mr. Warhol's death warranted further study. The findings announced yesterday ended that investigation and said the case would not be presented to a grand jury unless ''any new and significant evidence is discovered.'' The District Attorney's office announced its findings in a letter to Dr. Gross. Malpractice Issue Not Addressed
Mr. Fried stressed in an interview, however, that the investigation focused solely on whether Mr. Warhol's death was a result of criminal medical wrongdoing, and did not address the overall quality of treatment that Mr. Warhol was given or whether medical malpractice may have contributed to Mr. Warhol's death. He was believed to be 58 years old at the time, although his date of birth is in dispute.
The New York State Health Department, in a report in April, was sharply critical of the quality of care Mr. Warhol was given from the time he was he was admitted to New York Hospital on Feb. 20 until his death two days later. The department called Mr. Warhol's treatment ''inadequate'' and said it had found scores of ''deficiencies,'' including the failure to do proper tests before surgery and the failure to keep his medical chart accurately.
The hospital, which defended the quality of its care after that report and disputed the Health Department study, said through a spokeswoman yesterday that the findings by the prosecutor's office were a vindication. 'Entirely Appropriate' Care
''While we never believed that there was any basis for criminal charges, we cooperated fully with the District Attorney's office in its investigation,'' said the spokeswoman, Myrna Manners. ''We are gratified that the D.A. has confirmed our view that the medical care provided to Mr. Warhol was entirely appropriate.''
The attorney for Mr. Warhol's estate, Edward W. Hayes, said he would not dispute the District Attorney's findings. But he added that ''a very intensive'' private investigation was still under way covering ''the entire range of his medical treatment'' to determine whether the hospital or the health care workers may be liable under the lower standards of civil law.
A spokesman for the Health Department said the state's case against the hospital, which could result in fines or disciplinary action against hospital employees, was also still open and that discussions with the hospital were continuing. The spokesman, Peter Slocum, said that the department had not withdrawn any of its allegations and that the hospital was scheduled to make another reply to them next week. Layers of Uncertainty
According to the letter to Dr. Gross from the Manhattan District Attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau, the inability to determine the underlying cause of Mr. Warhol's death was a result of several layers of uncertainty and ambiguity in the medical treatment that Mr. Warhol was given.
Specifically, Mr. Morgenthau said that although Mr. Warhol's treatment by a chiropractor before entering the hospital could possibly have aggravated his gallbladder inflammation, the condition had already been diagnosed by a physician before that treatment.
In addition, the letter said, even if the chiropractor's treatment did aggravate the condition, ''it cannot be proven with any certainty that the chiropractor injured Mr. Warhol's gallbladder to the extent that surgery became neccessary, nor is there any evidence that the manipulation was performed either intentionally, recklessly or with with criminal negligence.'' Role of Private Nurse
The incomplete medical records, according to the letter, made it difficult to track Mr. Warhol's condition through the night after his surgery until his death in the early morning of Feb. 22. Those records, according to reports by the Health Department and prosecutor's office, were the responsibility of a private nurse who has since been barred by New York Hospital from treating any patients at the institution. The nurse's attorney has said that the nurse has been made a scapegoat by the hospital.
''The notes, to the extent that they exist, do not reveal evidence of criminal liability,'' Mr. Morgenthau said. Morever, he said, ''it is not now possible to determine whether more careful and vigilant nursing care would have detected the fatal arrhythmia in time to have prevented Warhol's death because his heart rhythm was not being electronically monitored when the fatal arrhythmia occurred.''
Sunday, December 30, 2007
I cannot help but to relate Gelsey Kirkland's book title Dancing on My Grave with Andy's health condition. Hackett as editor must have thought about this when she included the entry. But how can a bio about a ballet dancer be trashy? Am I missing something here? Maybe if Andy had thought of the book's content as news, he would have enjoyed it more. Ballet Talk takes care of business:
Where Did the Gossip Policy Go?
It's still there; it's now called "news." The board has always defined gossip as "unofficial news." We thought if we called it "gossip," no one would want to be one and wouldn't post any. Unfortunately, we found that people interpreted the term as it is generally used, and we had too many of the following conversations:
Ballet Talk: We've deleted/edited your post because it violated the gossip policy.
Poster: I would never gossip!!!! Stop calling me a liar!!!! She told me herself at Safeway!!!!
Our point was never to doubt the accuracy of the post or the good intentions of the poster. It was always whether the news was official, even if everyone, including the theater cat, knew it before it made the press. We've decided to use the term "news" to avoid contentiousness over the term "gossip."
Why Is There a News Policy in The First Place, When We All Want to Know "The Real Story?"
The news (formerly "gossip") policy is to protect everyone involved. Ballet professionals are people: they conduct careers, change their minds, and adjust to change at their own pace, and the reasons for their decisions don't always condense into convenient 10-second sound bites. They have good and bad days, like to spend time with their family and friends without being interrupted, and, generally prefer to drink their morning mocha latte without finding a five-page discussion on the Internet about whether they should have left off the whipped cream.
But, you may ask, doesn't it mean that the bad guys get away with murder? Don't I, as a donor/subscriber/volunteer/fan have the right to know if the Artistic Director locks up her husband in the basement? The answer is, maybe you do, but not from here.
And Andy's speculation on antiques reminds me of Antique Road Show. I can't say that I'm in love with the show, but it certainly is interesting to see what the producers decide to feature. I wonder if there's plenty of stuff from the movie lots, as Andy also speculates, that never makes it in front of the cameras. The Antique Road people would just tell the owner, "this is a movie prop--worthless!" But nobody wants to hear that on Antique Road Show. I mean, they only show you the good stuff. It's a show for pack rats. And the antique experts appear so knowledgeable, as though they just sat down with the object owner. But it's obviously staged.