Commonwealth budget cuts will deal a finishing blow to Madisonville's medical examiner's office. At a meeting of west Kentucky coroners two weeks ago the state's chief medical examiner Dr. Tracey Corey announced the office will close July 1. The office has been without an examiner since June, requiring officials in 24 counties to travel to Louisville each time an autopsy is needed. The Paducah Sun produced the story over the weekend.
Jennifer Brislin, spokeswoman for the Kentucky Justice Cabinet, said the closure will save the state money and put an end to difficulties in finding a pathologist willing to work in the Madisonville office. Since Dr. Dierdre Schluckebier resigned June 15, the state has not been able to find a replacement and has no realistic expectations of doing so, Brislin said. “Simply put, state salaries do not and cannot compare with those offered in the private sector, and we have been unsuccessful in our efforts to recruit a doctor for that office. And in fact, we have had difficulty recruiting doctors for all of our ME offices and other agencies within the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet,” Brislin said in an email.
Many county officials object to the closure, saying the added expense of traveling to Louisville is not cost or time- effective. The closure will also affect families who will face higher burial expenses and waiting times for autopsy results.