LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Monday, the Lubbock County Commissioners accepted the resignation of Dr. Sam Andrews as Lubbock County’s medical examiner. They also announced their choice for the interim chief medical examiner.
They approved to hire Dr. John Lang as the interim chief medical examiner. Dr. Lang is a native of Hersey, Pennsylvania and attended Penn State University’s College of Medicine and worked with the United States Health Services with The Federal Bureau of Prisons.
“He comes very well recommended, and the credentials are very good. I’ve spent a little bit of time with him talking with him. I think he’s the right man for the right job at the right time,” said Lubbock County Judge Curtis Parrish.
With Dr. Lang’s hire, the county says they’ll still be using the services of Tarrant County for any autopsies that need to be performed. They also could still bring in freelance forensic pathologists to come in and provide autopsy services as needed since Dr. Lang is a medical doctor, not a forensic pathologist.
“The vast majority of the medical examining services that are needed for the citizens of Lubbock County don’t involve an autopsy. They just involve a doctor making a ruling on someone’s death and how that happened,” said Judge Parrish. “And doing it in a timely manner so that our citizens can do their funeral plans, that they can get their insurance proceeds, they need death certificates to do that. Probate. All of those things need to occur, and they start first with the medical examiner."
Dr. Lang likens it to a hospital setting. Smaller hospitals, he said, like Sweetwater, can take care of some things, but not everything. For things they can’t take care of, they move the patient to a Lubbock hospital.
Judge Parrish said the plan going forward is making sure that the people of Lubbock County, and their families, are “taken care of in their greatest hour of need.”
“I want the citizens of Lubbock County to know that, that they can trust their medical examiner again, and that that might be something that’s built up over time,” said Parrish.
“I know there’s controversy. And I intentionally didn’t look at the news. Because it doesn’t matter. That’s all water under the bridge," said Dr. Lang, "That’s in the past, we’re starting fresh, and we’re going to do it right. And I make a promise to the citizens of Lubbock, I will do my very best to take care of them and their families and provide the very best service possible.”