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EMS to add medical examiner investigation to services
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Warren County EMS personnel will soon offer a new service, that of medical examiner investigator. Four employees will be going for training from March 11-16.
“Our reservations have been made and our spots reserved,” said Warren County Ambulance Service director Brian Jennings. “We will be studying in St. Louis right below the arch.”
Jennings will attend training with three members of his department. Cost for training will be approximately $3,800, with a grant paying for one of the four individuals.
A medical examiner investigator, formerly called a coroner, is an extension of the medical examiner’s office. They establish probable cause of death, calculate the time of death, and pronounce death at the scene when an individual is found deceased.
“We get called out to all these anyway,” said Jennings. “It makes sense we should be doing this and it streamlines the process.”
Individuals who are determined to have died naturally are released to a funeral home immediately. The medical examiner is called to investigate if a medical examiner investigator feels the individual died due to foul play.
Without this training, the process was hindered. Jennings says the death is sometimes not pronounced until 12 to 24 hours later because of necessary paperwork at the scene and the individual being taken to the hospital to await their regular physician, who then makes the announcement. The individual is then released to the funeral home.
“Our training means the person can be released to the funeral home immediately, if they died of natural causes,” said Jennings.
The county’s medical examiner is currently Dr. Charles Morgan. He must agree to the extension of his office.
“I can’t imagine him having any objections to this,” said Jennings. “I know it sounds like we are putting the cart before the horse, but I think this is the right way to go about it. We can get the training first and present it to him.”
Along with medical examiner consent, commissioners must establish a policy for medical examiner investigators to follow. It must then be approved by the full Warren County Commission.