Lubbock County hires medical examiner services to complete unresolved death cases

Updated: Oct. 22, 2018 at 7:22 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Lubbock County Commissioners approved a contract with NAAG Pathology Labs on Monday to help the Lubbock County Medical Examiner complete over four hundred unresolved death reports.

When Dr. Sam Andrews took over for Dr. Sridhar Natarajan as the Lubbock County Chief Medical Examiner on October 1, he discovered the backlog of 427 unresolved cases.

That number is about two-thirds the amount of cases the medical examiner’s office sees each year.

According to County Commissioner Bill McCay, NAAG has resources across the country that can helped get these cases closed. “From this point forward, we’ll begin getting reports on the activity and the quantity of cases so that we know where we are in reducing that four hundred and twenty-seven. Dr. Andrews has worked over the weekends and has worked hard to get as many of these cases closed as quickly as we can.”

National standards say that 90 percent of these types of cases should be closed within two months, and the remainder should be closed within three months. Currently, some of the backlog of cases in Lubbock date as far back as 2014.

McCay says the approved contract will address that backlog, as well as reduce the number of outside services utilized by the county’s medical examiner. “We know that there are many families that are worried and concerned and anxious to get these results back. This company’s got the resources to address this as quickly as possible, to not just rely on our chief medical examiner, but to utilize other resources to get these cases as closed as quickly as possible.”

The contract entered into Monday states the cost per case is $1,500, which will end up totaling more than $640,000 when all 427 are closed.

The outside resources provided by the contract will not only help the medical examiner complete the 427 unresolved cases, but the additional 40 to 50 cases each month as well.

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