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Monroe Co. flies NYC doctors to cover Medical Examiner cases

June 19, 2017 06:47 PM

Four doctors from New York City are flying to Rochester to help with the Monroe County Medical Examiner's caseload. And Monroe County is paying the tab to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars this year.

In 2016, the county spent $225,000 on New York City doctors. This year, the budget is $150,000.

"For the last couple of months, we've asked them to work one week a month," said Dr. Nadia Granger, Monroe County's Medical Examiner.

Brean: The county still flies in four doctors from New York City to work one week at a time. Is that an effective thing to do?

Cheryl Dinolfo, Monroe County Executive: Well, the county has done that for years and years. Many years.

The county says it's contracted with the NYC doctors since 2015. The county says it's to cover the workload in the ME's office.

Police chiefs in Monroe County say the time it takes to get test results from the Medical Examiner's office is unacceptable and they're concerned it's going to affect criminal cases.

Here are two examples we've looked at: 

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  • A man in Gates is accused of selling a deadly batch of heroin. Gates Police say they want him indicted for a homicide but they don't have the toxicology report.
  • A car that crashed into a house in Macedon. Macedon Police haven't charged the driver because the blood work isn't processed. 

County Executive Dinolfo says she is taking steps to try to solve this problem including hiring a new Associate Medical Examiner next month.

The issue is the amount of time it takes the Medical Examiner's office to determine causes of death and whether someone was drunk when they were driving. The Medical Examiner says her office is hampered by historic numbers of complex heroin overdose cases.

Dr. Nadia Granger, Medical Examiner: Now there is probably about 10 different types of Fentanyls that are present in the samples we're examining.

Last week, police chiefs from Monroe County met with the Medical Examiner. They're concerned that it takes five to seven months to process cases.

Brean: That's a red flag to us and I just to make sure that the Medical Examiner's office has enough money, has enough staff to be able to do the work they need to do.
Cheryl Dinolfo, Monroe County Executive: So let's go back. First of all, I wouldn't call that a red flag at all. I would call that leadership by the County of Monroe and certainly under Dr. Granger as our Medical Examiner.

Dinolfo says she authorized the hiring of a new Associate Medical Examiner in July and another one next year. She says she also started a pathology fellowship program with the University of Rochester starting in 2018.

Brean: Can you assure our viewers that the office has enough money and enough staff? 

Cheryl Dinolfo, Monroe County Executive: So as I told Dr. Granger and I'm explaining to you as well, there are a couple of ways we're tackling that. Number one: bringing in an additional medical examiner. In addition to that that fellowship program will as well. Our toxicologists are fully staffed. There are no vacancies.

Credits

Berkeley Brean

Copyright 2017 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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