The heroin crisis has become so monumental in Cuyahoga County that the medical examiner's office could lose accreditation
with a national organization. Pathologists' workloads have simply become too burdensome, and The National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) has threatened penalties.
The office requested an additional $200,000 from Cuyahoga County; council will vote on the budget move this afternoon. The funds will allow the medical examiner's office to arrange contracts with pathologists and a toxicologist, and to reconfigure a DNA technician position.
that pathologists conduct no more than 250 autopsies per year. In 2016, three forensic pathologists in Cuyahoga County conducted more than 325 autopsies each — the threshold for penalties.
The toxicology lab has also exceeded a 90-day turnaround limit on lab results.
The ballooning workload is entirely attributed to the local heroin overdose crisis
. Last year, the county saw more than 600 overdose deaths (from heroin and other various opioids). By all accounts, that number will almost certainly increase this year.