Several apply for Chief Medical Examiner position

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The Commission on Post-Mortem Examinations announced Thursday during its broadcast hearing that there are several applicants who have been rated eligible for the Chief Medical Examiner (CME) position.

Attorney General Leevin T. Camacho and Dr. John Taitano from the Guam Medical Society
were appointed to the Search Committee and are tasked with interviewing and submitting
recommendations to the Commission at its next meeting, tentatively scheduled for October
15, 2021.

The Commission has actively recruited for the CME position since former CME Dr. Aurelio
Espinola retired in 2018. Nationwide, there has been a shortage of certified forensic medical examiners and other jurisdictions have been met with similar recruitment issues.

Despite that setback, continuity of services has continued through the Commission’s ability
to secure three separate contracts with the Guam Memorial Hospital Authority (GMHA), a
pathologist in Saipan, and a pair of forensic pathologists out of Hawaii.

Each contract is utilized based on need and level of examination required. Dr. Abe with GMHA conducted 552 non-forensic examinations while Dr. Dauterman out of Saipan conducted 291. The Hawaii forensic pathologists conducted 16 forensic examinations and have testified as expert witnesses in a number of criminal trials.

The Commission noted in the meeting that there has been the addition of a third interim forensic pathologist out of Arkansas.

The Committee also seeks to resubmit proposed fee legislation to Speaker Therese
Terlaje, Chair of the Committee on Health. The fee legislation will enable the OCME to
impose fees for storage, morgue processing, human body transport, autopsy reports, and
other services. All fees will be paid to the Treasurer of Guam and placed in the Office of
Post Mortem Examinations Operations Revolving Fund.

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