Trumbull Coroner, a CAP Member, Seeks Funds to Hire Additional Pathologist
WFMJ - WARREN, Ohio -
The Trumbull County Coroner, Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk, is begging county commissioners to hire another forensic pathologist.
He says the standard number of cases one doctor can handle a year is around 250 and last year he had 309.
"I just finished up two cases this morning. It's now 1:00 p.m., I already have two cases waiting for me tomorrow," said Germaniuk. "For every one hour I spend in surgery, there's at least an additional 2-3 hours I spend reviewing microscopics, talking to the families on the phone, proofreading protocols. I have court cases that eat up time. I got police reports from homicides."
One of the reasons for the rise in the body count is the increased use of opioids like heroin. He says overdoses started to spike about two to three years ago.
And while the coroner is in discussions with the commissioners about hiring a new person for the office, it may not be that easy.
Commissioners say the county can't afford the needed $240,000 a year in salary and benefits it takes to get a pathologist.
Instead, the county is exploring regionalization as a way to share costs.
Commissioner Mauro Cantalamessa said, "We are looking at some joint efforts with other counties perhaps so that they can absorb some of the costs and then it wouldn't solely be on Trumbull County so maybe we can get some help there and it can benefit some other counties as well."
But the coroner says there is a shortage of pathologists and business is unfortunately, way too good.
"Everyone is getting hammered. So as far as hooking up with an adjoining county, they are getting just as crushed as we are," said Germaniuk.
So backlogs and delays could be in the near future for local counties because of a lack of resources.