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Lawsuit Challenges NC Medical Examiners Accountability

Dr. John Butts, a retired 23 year head medical examiner in NC, has been summoned to testify this week as part of a ground breaking lawsuit against the NC Medical Examiner practice.

The Personal Injury Lawsuit is challenging to hold NC Medical Examiners accountable for their work and mistakes.

Dr. Butts reveled to the Observer that during his tenure, he personally saw numerous medical examiners on his staff close cases without even viewing the body.

He also stated there were many cases he knew of where mistakes were made due to carelessness and lack of concern. He stated that because the medical examiners were not actual state employees, but rather contracted out at $100 per body examined, there was no power in his position to fire, demote, fine, or reprimand any medical examiners he found to be neglecting to fulfill their duties.

NC Medical Examiners have not been held accountable for their determination and findings, even when those findings have been blatantly wrong due to negligence.

In 2001, an investigation done by Observer reports found NC Medical Examiners had failed to detect five homicides over a five-year time period. errors and oversights in medical reports directly influenced and jeopardized hundreds of other cases. Observer reports also found that as many as 4,400 apparent drownings, suicides and fire deaths had not been actually autopsied.

Recently, a Charlotte, NC case was settled stating a medical examiner could not be held accountable for a wrongful cause of death because the medical examiner had not direct obligation to the family to perform services to a certain standard.

The suit is being brought forth by four families, one of which had a loved one’s body declared dead and a death report written up, without the body even being viewed. The young man was instead merely unconscious and in need of medical help. The man was zipped into a body bag and stored for numerous hours before the mistake was discovered.

Medical Examiners testimony and legal findings influence the results to all suspicious death cases, suicides, murders, and shootings and a negligent or completely inaccurate report can directly impact how a case is handled and what decision a jury makes.

Do you have a personal injury case? Do you need legal advice? expert North Carolina personal injury lawyers, Kelly & West Attorneys are here to win you the justice you deserve.


Please NOTE: Kelly & West Attorneys, P.A. is not representing any parties involved in this case.

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