Bill would allow contract autopsies, despite dubious past

Published 8:11 am Wednesday, January 30, 2019

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.

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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.