‘The heroin epidemic is killing so many people in the state of Maryland that its medical examiner’s office is straining to keep up, which could threaten its accreditation. Autopsies in the state have grown 40 percent since 2010 – almost 100 more a year.
“Everyone continues to add on work hours and work faster and hopefully not take short cuts,” Dr. David R. Fowler, Maryland’s chief medical examiner, told the Baltimore Sun. “They absorb this extra load. But there is a point where they can’t continue to add to that and expect the system will function.”
Medical examiner pathologists are accredited to carry out a set number of autopsies a year to ensure quality control and confidence in the results. The situation has implications for the criminal justice and public health systems, which rely on the autopsies in court cases.’