- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 5, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - After spending 28 years investigating thousands of deaths, Utah’s State Medical Examiner Todd Grey is retiring.

At a recent open house honoring his retirement, the 62-year-old recalled some of the more memorable and wrenching cases he’s handled, such as a young boy who contracted a fatal infection from a cat scratch.

“Those are the cases that emotionally stick with you,” Grey said. “It’s sad, and it’s intellectually challenging.”

Grey will spend a few more weeks writing up final reports on autopsies and testifying in some court cases.

Once he’s wrapped up, Grey will work as a consultant. A deputy, Erik Christensen, will serve as the new chief medical examiner.

Grey has been chief medical examiner since 1988. He was serving as an assistant examiner when he was promoted, becoming the fifth person to hold the chief job in six years. His predecessors said the pay was low and the office poorly funded.

Grey said those problems still exist but have improved since he took over nearly three decades ago.

His retirement leaves four forensic pathologists responsible for the roughly 2,800 autopsies that come through the office each year, and another 5,000 to 6,000 investigations into a person’s cause of death. If cause of death investigations are delayed, death certificates will be delayed and insurance companies won’t pay out death benefits to heirs, The Salt Lake Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/29f5G5J ).

“Too many cold bodies for too few warm ones,” Grey said.

That caseload has kept the office from getting a national accreditation that most medical examiner offices receive. The state is looking to hire four more medical examiners but is having difficulty finding candidates who are qualified.

In addition to repeatedly asking the Legislature for more money for his office to address the caseload, Grey has warned public health officials about rising rates of prescription pain reliever overdoses and rising suicide rates in the state.

Grey was helpful to police during murder investigations, Unified Police Department homicide detective Todd Park said. He also was skilled at testifying in court, according to Salt Lake County Deputy District Attorney Vincent Meister.

Grey could explain anatomy and medicine to jurors without patronizing them or assuming they were experts, Meister said.

“It wasn’t pro-prosecution or pro-defense,” Meister said. “The facts were the facts.”

___

Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide