"The incident embodies the frustration that Americans feel with the waits at hospitals, with the negligence at hospitals," said Jamie Court, president of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. "Everybody one day visits the emergency room."
Days after her death, coroner's records obtained by The Times show, county officials and politicians weighed in with questions and suggestions about the investigation.
Dr. Robert Splawn, senior medical director of the county Department of Health Services, called the coroner's office several times.
During a May 12 call, he voiced his "great concerns over this case" and suggested that Rodriguez was high on cocaine or methamphetamine at the time of her death, according to the documents.
Results of toxicology testing by the coroner showed that Rodriguez did not have cocaine in her system. She tested positive for methamphetamine, but the level was not "life-threatening."
At another point, on May 18, Splawn called, "wondering why nobody called him," and Deputy Medical Examiner Louis Pena declined to take his call, the documents say.
Earlier this week, Splawn was named interim medical director of King-Harbor.
Others who talked to the coroner's office included county lawyers, health department director Dr. Bruce Chernof, and Molina and members of her staff.
Sharon Harper, the No. 2 county administrator, said she does not believe that anyone, including Splawn, acted inappropriately in investigating the matter; they were simply inquiring about a major case.
"I don't think that the health department is trying to skew any results," she said. "This was serious to them."
For previous articles on King-Harbor, audio recordings of the 911 calls and Rodriguez's autopsy report, go to http://www.latimes.com/kingharbor .