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State Medical Examiner’s accreditation at risk in budget impasse

HARTFORD — The State Medical Examiner’s Office has until the end of Wednesday to fix several problems, or the office risks losing all of its accreditation.

This comes amidst budget issues at the State Capitol. The Medical Examiner’s office was downgraded to partial accreditation in February of this year. Their status is currently considered provisional, which is a form of probation.

Right now, the agency has seven forensic pathologists, and they all perform more than 325 autopsies a year. That number is above the limit set by the association’s accreditation standards.

Chief Medical Examiner James Gill says he needs two more forensic pathologists in order to regain full accreditation.

“I’m concerned for the staff, you know they are doing more numbers than they should, which can affect quality but also can affect their well-being,” says Gill. “I mean it’s a stressful work, there can be burnout, I am afraid people are going to leave.”

Without the appropriate number of pathologists, Gill says that there is an increased risk of making errors – it could impact death investigations, cause delays in the time it take to complete autopsies for both families and police, and that could even hold up funerals in some cases as well.

In the meantime, the Medical Examiner’s Office is hoping to keep their partial accreditation until Connecticut reaches an official budget.