Greene County will be partnering with Forensic Associates LLC and Dr. Keith Norton to have its autopsies conducted.
Previously, the county had been under contract with University of Missouri for its autopsies, but after budget cuts at the school, the contract was not renewed.
Greene County Commissioner Bob Cirtin says the hiring of Dr. Keith Norton and Forensic Associates comes after months of searching for someone to fill the role of Greene County’s medical examiner.
“I don’t like to use this word, but there is a little bit of desperation here,” Norton explains. “Because we have not been able to find a full time forensic pathologist to hire, Dr. Norton and his company has agreed to provide autopsy services to Greene County on a case-by-case basis.”
Cirtin explains that this is not a long term solution.
“This is a short-term stop gap that will not go very long because we hope that we will be able to hire somebody full time,” says Cirtin.
Dr. Keith Norton will be taking on the task of autopsies and death certificates for the county as they continue their search.
“The problem is there are roughly 500 forensic pathologists who are board certified in the country,” says Dr. Norton.
This type of work is something that excites Dr. Norton.
“I enjoy solving puzzles,” Norton explains. “Why did this person die? How do my findings from the autopsy correlate with the information the police are telling me? How can explain that in court?”
Dr. Norton says there is a big difference between this temporary position and the full-time job.
“The only difference between this stopgap position and the full-time medical examiner office is that I would be running the office, and I am not running the office,” says Norton. “Right now, it is being run by Human Resources at Greene County.”
While Norton does not currently hold the permanent title, he says it is a possibility.
“I would consider this for a full time position,” Norton says.
Norton explained that he would like to spend at least three months showing Greene County that Forensic Associates LLC can do a good job in this position, and then let the county make the decision on whether they would like to make the partnership permanent.