Thursday, May 21, 2009
Marion County Coroner's Office Back In The News
The Marion County Coroner's Office handling of a morbidly obese deceased person has the decedent's family asking questions. According to WXNT, Coroner's employees dragged a more than 700-pound deceased woman, Teresa Smith, from her apartment on a mattress, heaved her on a flat bed truck supplied by a local tow truck operator and threw a piece of carpet over her to cover her body as shocked family members looked on. One family member told WXNT that a blanket covering her body fell off and the workers didn't bother to cover her back up as they proceeded to drag the mattress. According to the WXNT report, former Chief Deputy Coroner John Linehan, who the previous coroner fired because he's white according to the findings of an EEOC administrative law judge, said the office has ambulatory devices to move persons up to 1,000 pounds. A few months ago, a source within the Coroner's office said Coroner's office employees mixed up the bodies of an African-American decedent and a Caucasian decedent when they were autopsied. The office did not become aware of the mix up until weeks later according to the source. Dr. Frank Lloyd succeeded chiropractor Kenneth Ackles to the office in January; however, Lloyd kept the same management team in place that worked for Ackles.
UPDATE: The story originated on WRTV. Click here for the full story and video.
UPDATE II: Jack Rinehart led off this evening's WRTV broadcast with a follow up story that included an interview with Dr. Lloyd. Lloyd defended the actions of his employees as "respectful", although when Rinehart asked him if he would allow a member of his own family to be transported in that fashion, he responded, "no." Rinehart also spoke to several different sources who confirmed availability of ambulatory devices to transport obese persons. Rinehart noted that the coroner's office had such a device and an SUV in which the body could have been transported available at the scene for use. I've also added exclusive home video footage Fox59News obtained of the unbelievable scene.