DATE: March 21, 2014
MEDIA CONTACT: Dr. Craig Mallak, JD, MD
Broward County Chief Medical Examiner
BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. - The District 17 Medical Examiner's Office, part of the Broward County Office of Medical Examiner and Trauma Services, has been awarded provisional accreditation by the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME).
NAME awards provisional accreditation to medical examiner's offices with fewer than 25 Phase I and fewer than five Phase II deficiencies. Inspectors identified only one deficiency in Broward County's forensic operation: the use of the County's toxicology laboratory, which has not yet achieved NAME-sanctioned accreditation. The accreditation process for the laboratory is underway, said Dr. Craig Mallak, Chief Medical Examiner, and Broward County expects to receive this important credential before the provisional accreditation expires in February 2015.
In their report, NAME inspectors lauded the forensic team for revitalizing operations as necessary to bring the office to accreditation standards in a short period of time. They specifically cited a "superior and professional operation," the establishment of clear goals and objectives, an improved work flow, revamp and redesign of toxicology services and the recent installation of a modern LoDox technology.
"This is the first time District 17 has achieved accreditation under the new and more rigorous and comprehensive standards adopted by NAME," said Dr. Mallak. The inspection consisted of a 650-item checklist that examined 13 areas critical to overall operations, including facilities, safety, personnel, investigations, body handling, postmortem examinations, evidence and specimen collections, support services including photography, radiology, histology, reports and records, and mass disaster plan.
While the District 17 office is a single-county office, it has mutual appointments with two adjacent districts for mass disaster and other coverage, and also assumes jurisdiction of deaths occurring on-sea and arriving at port.
"The NAME accreditation brings us honor and credibility locally, among our peers, across the nation and world. The anticipated accreditation of the toxicology laboratory furthers that important distinction," said Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry.
The National Association of Medical Examiners, founded in 1966, is the premier organization of Board-certified forensic pathologists who investigate and perform autopsies in deaths from sudden natural, suspicious, overdose or violent means, serving the families of the deceased, the public, police and the justice system.
About the Office of Medical Examiner and Trauma Services
The Broward County Office of the Medical Examiner and Trauma Services brings expert and independent medical evaluation to the investigation of deaths that are of concern to public health, safety and welfare of the community. The Office investigates cases of persons who die within its District 17 jurisdictional boundaries from criminal violence, by accident, by suicide, suddenly when in apparent good health, when not recently treated by a physician, while incarcerated or in any suspicious or unusual manner. The Office also approves the cremations of persons who die within Broward County or are transported to Broward County for the purpose of cremation after death in another state or country. For more information, call 954-357-5200 or visit broward.org/MedicalExaminer.