She wanted to be a doctor. As a little girl, growing up in the Flint Hills of Kansas, Diane Peterson displayed an early fascination with anatomy and was soon imagining herself becoming a physician.
Then she got older. And she just couldn’t see herself being able to treat patients.
“When I got to high school, I changed my mind about becoming a doctor,” she says. “I didn’t think I would be able to handle seeing people in pain.”
But, today, the people Dr. Peterson examines are — in her words — “freed of their pain.” They are deceased.
This month marks one year since Dr. Peterson was named interim Chief Medical Examiner for Jackson County. When Dr. Mary Dudley retired as Chief ME at the end of August last year, she strongly urged the county to make Dr. Peterson her successor, saying, “I’m leaving the Medical Examiner’s Office in good hands — Dr. Peterson’s hands.”