BALTIMORE (WJZ / AP) – Maryland’s chief medical officer, Dr. Victor Weedn, has been replaced, effective immediately, according to the Maryland Department of Health.
The Office of Medical Examiner confirmed Dr Weedn had resigned on Friday afternoon.
Dr. Pamela E. Southall will serve as the state’s Interim Chief Medical Examiner.
The main Medical Examiner’s office is responsible for determining the cause and manner of death if a person is not in the care of a physician, or if the death is unexpected or occurs under suspicious or unusual circumstances, the department know.
The announcement comes amid increased scrutiny of staff shortages by the main Office of Medical Examiner and large backlog in autopsies.
Last week, Dr. Weednl asked the federal government for help to manage a backlog of more than 200 bodies awaiting autopsy in Baltimore.
As of last Friday, 217 bodies were awaiting autopsy by state coroners, but Weedn says that number could surpass 300 in less than two weeks.
The number of cases investigated increased by 85% between 2012 and 2020. In the past, the office could handle 99% of cases in less than 24 hours, but today, it can take two weeks.
The backlog started in mid-December, but by January 13, the original number of 50 bodies awaiting autopsy had doubled.
Contributing to the backlog is a shortage of staff. The office has lost at least four forensic pathologists and chief investigators. The staff shortage threatens the agency’s recognition as payrolls have fallen below national standards.
https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2022/02/18/marylands-chief-medical-examiner-resigns/ Maryland’s chief medical examiner says amid staff shortages, autopsy backlog – CBS Baltimore