SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- (09/11/2017) For the past five years, all Greene County autopsies have been performed in Springfield by a medical examiner from the University of Missouri, but with his recent retirement, Greene County officials have been left wondering what to do.
In addition to the medical examiner's retirement, the University of Missouri has also announced that they will not be renewing their contract with Greene County, meaning no new medical examiners will be sent to Springfield.
"That puts us in a position that we were before we had a contract and that is transporting the bodies to be autopsied at the University of Missouri," said Harold Bengsch, the Greene County Commissioner, District One.
The solution is not ideal, however, making it only a temporary fix.
"That's an extra cost plus we have to have 1 to 2 police officers go with the body," explained Bengsch. "There is an extension on the amount of time it would take to bring the body back to Springfield."
With the contract set to expire in December, it is now down to the wire to find a solution.
"Are there other entities that wish to contract with Greene County, if not, are there forensic pathologist that are willing to move here, or are there some in the vicinity that are willing to locate here to provide that service. We'll have to decided which one is most cost efficient and provides the best layer of services."
However, regardless of what path of action is taken , autopsy services will still be provided in some way by the county.
"It's not something that's nice to have. We're required to provide these services. Now we can provide them in different ways. Before we were doing them on our own, and it looks like we might have to go back to doing them on our own if we can find a forensic pathologist."
Many questions remain and nothing has been decided on yet, however Greene County said that they will continue to search for a solution that will benefit both the community and the county.