Maryland Medical Examiner's Office Overwhelmed With Drug Deaths - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Maryland Medical Examiner's Office Overwhelmed With Drug Deaths

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(Photo: AP) (Photo: AP)

BALTIMORE (AP)- The Maryland Medical Examiner's Office says it's getting overwhelmed as the number of drug-related deaths related to the opioid crisis increases.
    
The agency has exceeded national caseload standards - the number of autopsies a single pathologist should perform in a year -in each of the past four years. Performing too many autopsies can jeopardize quality.
    
The office now risks losing its accreditation. The situation has troubling implications for the criminal justice and public health systems, which regularly use autopsy findings and data.
    
Chief Medical Examiner Dr. David R. Fowler says there are 17 medical examiners on staff, and six more are needed. He requested three in the most recent state budget but didn't get them.
    
Health Department spokesman Christopher Garrett says officials are trying to shift more personnel to the agency.
    

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