Tag Archives: morgue

Medical examiner who turned around Cook County morgue resigns

(CHICAGO) Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Stephen Cina will resign in June, ending a four-year run as head of the once-troubled Cook County morgue, Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced Wednesday, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

Cina took over the medical examiner’s office in 2012 after predecessor Dr. Nancy Jones resigned amid a furor over mismanagement and a lack of resources that became visible in gruesome fashion when photos leaked showing bodies piled up in a cooler in the West Side morgue. The medical examiner’s office lost its accreditation from a national certifying organization in 2011.

In a news release Wednesday, Preckwinkle praised Cina for leading the office as it won back its accreditation last month, for recruiting top staff and upgrading the office’s outdated record system with state-of-the-art technology.

“Dr. Cina has done an amazing job of transforming our medical examiner’s office, bringing it from crisis to full accreditation in less than four years,” Preckwinkle said. “Through smart and creative management, it is now a model for the nation, a great testament to Dr. Cina’s determination and leadership.”

Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Ponni Arunkumar will take over as head of the office after Cina’s departure June 5, the release stated.

Cina was paid nearly $70,000 more than Jones, and received funding for additional staff after he was hired away from the University of Miami Tissue Bank in south Florida. He was appointed for a full five-year term in 2012.

Preckwinkle’s statement did not say whether Cina had a job lined up elsewhere. In the statement, Cina said the decision to leave was a difficult one and the reasons for his departure were “purely personal.”

“With President Preckwinkle’s backing and the hard work of my staff, we have exceeded all of the goals I had set,” Cina said. “My decision to leave is purely personal and is based on a desire for a more peaceful lifestyle.”

Unidentified cadavers found at Malcolm X College buried ‘with dignity’

(CHICAGO) Four unidentified, embalmed bodies found at Malcolm X College received a proper burial on Thursday, officials said.

A lawsuit filed in April revealed that unidentified “decomposing” human corpses were stored at several City Colleges of Chicago campuses, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Last month, four cadavers that had been found at Malcolm X were brought to the medical examiner’s office, said Frank Shuftan, a spokesman for the office.

The corpses, which appeared to have been embalmed a long time ago, were examined externally. For all four, the cause of death was noted as undetermined and the manner of death was deemed natural, Shuftan said.

The medical examiner’s office issued new death certificates for the unidentified bodies and stored them until Thursday, Shuftan said.

The bodies were buried Thursday at Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery, and the city colleges paid for the interment. They were buried “with dignity and respect,” said Roman Szabelski, executive director of the Catholic Cemeteries for the Archdiocese of Chicago.

The bodies appear to be two men and two women, and it has been at least 10 years since they had been used “in an academic setting,” Eugene Munin, the City Colleges’ attorney, wrote in an email to the medical examiner’s office. The email, dated April 9, was obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times after an open records’ request.

Munin wrote that officials at the City Colleges, to no avail, have called former employees, talked to the agency that normally provides cadavers and scoured emails and records to try to find more information about the bodies.

The school is moving to a new campus, and “the notion that we will simply box up these bodies and move them to some storage facility in the new campus makes me uncomfortable,” he said in the email, adding that the City Colleges are “developing protocols for the handling of cadavers of that this situation does not repeat itself.”

The macabre issue was brought to light by Micah Young, who had been the dean of Health and Sciences Career Programs at Malcolm X College. He claimed in the lawsuit filed April 28 that he was unjustly fired.

Another former Malcolm X employee, Mario De La Haye, who was the associate dean of the school’s Health Sciences Career Programs, claims in a lawsuit filed Monday that he also was unjustly fired after his supervisor, Young, was fired.

Young and De La Haye made the bizarre and grisly discovery of four human bodies stored in boxes at Malcolm X in June 2014. The lawsuits allege that there are eight other bodies “rotting” at other city colleges.

— Chicago Sun-Times