October 21, 2020

Bill would allow contract autopsies, despite dubious past

Some Mississippi lawmakers want to again allow counties to contract for autopsies, even though counties’ previous use of a private pathologist attracted scrutiny.

The Senate Judiciary A Committee on Tuesday approved Senate Bill 2400 , sending it to the full Senate for further debate. The measure would set up a three-year pilot program allowing coroners in Harrison, Itawamba, Lee and Warren counties to hire private pathologists.

Sen. Chad McMahan, a Guntown Republican sponsoring the measure, says it’s needed because the state medical examiner’s office is running far behind on completing autopsies because state officials have struggled to hire pathologists.

Most of Mississippi’s counties once relied on a private physician named Dr. Steven Hayne, but his work has been repeatedly attacked in court as sloppy and scientifically unsound.