Mt Pleasant News
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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 31, 2014

Seven step up to the plate, wishing to be medical examiner investigators

Jan 03, 2014

By MEGAN COOPER

Mt. Pleasant News

A new program in Henry County provides a much-needed service.

Several new people had expressed interest in becoming medical examiner investigators (MEI) a few months ago, and now, since the Henry County Board of Supervisors approved their training, will begin the next step in the process.

Arlo Walljasper, Bill Riley, Danny Eversmeyer, Heather Kleemeyer, Jim Steffen, Mark Long and RaeAnn Perrot have completed the intial training needed in order to become an MEI, now they are ready to attend training in St. Louis (medicolegal death investigator training), which is required within two years of the initial training. These individuals will be joining the county medical examiner Dr. Kent Metcalf.

The medical examiners will help with needs in all cities of Henry County and will help across county lines if needed.

“We are really excited that we had seven people step up to the job. We don’t exactly know how many the county needs, but it’s great that we have this many. I think that it will really help us,” said Travis Johnson, community health director at the Henry County Health Center.

These MEIs are already a part of the health field and so have additional training as well.

“Jim (Steffen) is the lead paramedic instructor for Southeastern Community College, RaeAnn (Perrot) is a nurse with Southeast Dialysis and in the emergency room at HCHC. The others all work on the ambulance service at HCHC,” Johnson added about the seven who will become medical examiners.

These individuals are not contracted by HCHC, they are contracted by Henry County, and so it is not part of their job at HCHC.

So, exactly what will these medical examiners be doing?

“Deaths that have an impact on the ‘public interest’ are routinely investigated by the county medical examiners. Deaths that are considered to affect the public’s interest include deaths that are sudden, unexpected, violent, suspicious or unattended,” Johnson explained. “When an forensic autopsy is ordered by the medical examiner, it is performed in either Ankeny at the state medical examiner’s office or in Iowa City at the University of Iowa Decedent Care Center.”

The county has been in need of these individuals and Johnson received permission from the board of supervisors in an earlier board of supervisors meeting to send these individuals to school.

“We are doing a great service to the county allowing these individuals to continue their training. We need them,” said Johnson.

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