The National Association of Medical Examiners has revoked the accreditation of Connecticut’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, citing inadequate staffing and funding. The office has also been placed on a one-year probation by the association.
CNN is reporting that Chief Medical Examiner Dr. James Gill was informed of this action in an Oct. 13 letter from Dr. Barbara Wolf, chairwoman of the inspection and accreditation committee of the National Association of Medical Examiners, which stated, “Phase II deficiencies will result in the demotion of the (medical examiner’s office) to provisional accreditation, which is only valid for a period of one year.” The letter added that the medical examiner’s office “faces many challenges related to inadequate funding and insufficient staffing. Most notably, there are insufficient numbers of forensic pathologists, medicolegal death investigators, and clerical personnel for the volume of cases in Connecticut.”
“Loss of accreditation means that the office does not meet the minimum standards for an adequate medicolegal death investigation system, ” Dr. Gill stated. “An insufficient number of staff results in an increased risk of mistakes. Mistakes by a medical examiner’s office put people’s lives at risk, can result in the innocent imprisoned and cost millions of dollars in civil claims.”
Dr. David Fowler, president of the National Association of Medical Examiners, added that the state runs the risk of increased legal and insurance problems under its current staffing problems within the medical examiner’s office.
“Families will suffer,” he said. “The law enforcement and judicial system will be compromised. Quality is going to be questionable. Imagine if you are waiting for a death certificate to get an insurance claim, and the person who is deceased was the sole breadwinner of the house, and now it could take months to get that result. Families need closure. Insurance companies need documents to close estates. Human beings do not cease to be human being when they die. They at least get the right to an accurate death certificate.”