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Justice Department Will Pay Coroner for St. Croix Autopsies

March 10, 2009 — A day after overworked St. Thomas/ St. John District medical examiner Dr. Francisco Landron announced through a local newspaper he couldn't do any more autopsies on St. Croix without being paid, Attorney General Vincent F. Frazer thanked Landron for rising above the call of duty and said his money is on the way.
“As pledged, the Department of Justice is in the midst of processing a substantial, outstanding, payment to Dr. Landron for a number of autopsies that he has been called on to perform on St. Croix in recent months," said Frazer, in a statement from Government House.
St. Croix lost its medical examiner, Dr. D’Michelle Dupree, last July, leaving Landron to take up the slack. (See: "Luis Hospital Loses Medical Examiner.")
In a St. Croix Avis piece Monday, Landron told Avis writer Steve Bullock he had performed 23 autopsies since July without payment, and the amount of uncompensated work was too much for him to continue. Several years previously, Landron found himself in the same position, with unpaid bills mounting up, and the government paid him when he stopped doing extra work, he told the Avis.
Frazer said losing Dupree strained the Office of the Medical Examiner’s ability to meet the demand for a pathologist in both districts, so he instructed Landron to assume the additional duties of the St. Croix Medical Examiner.
“I determined that the need to have a skilled pathologist readily accessible to both districts was imperative to meeting the territory’s unavoidable obligation to conduct postmortem examinations”, said Frazer, “and that the Department of Justice would incur the costs associated with this need.”
Along with Landron’s regular salary, Justice also bears the cost of his transportation from St. Thomas to St. Croix when needed, and pays Landron extra, above his salary for each autopsy that he performs outside the scope of his St. Thomas/ St. John District duties, Frazer said.
“It is the expenditure of these additional monies that have put a strain on the department’s budget and have caused it to fall behind in its otherwise timely payment to Dr. Landron," Frazer said. "Under the circumstances, the department did what it had to in order ensure that the medical services afforded to the rest of the territory would not be withheld from the residents of St. Croix.”
Landron suggested creating a territorial medical examiner’s position, eliminating the need for two separate pathologists, and offered to fill the position for less than the cost of two medical examiners. And Frazer said Justice is seriously considering that option.
"However, the adjustment cannot be made until the start of Fiscal Year 2010, which doesn’t begin until October of 2009,“ Frazer said. "In the meantime, Dr. Landron’s services are critical to filling the void left behind on St. Croix by the departure of Dr. Dupree.”
Frazer thanked Landron for his work and his patience.
“I think I speak for the entire community in thanking Dr. Landron for his dedicated service to the territory," Frazer said. "His understanding and cooperation is appreciated as the Department of Justice works swiftly to resolve this matter.”

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March 10, 2009 -- A day after overworked St. Thomas/ St. John District medical examiner Dr. Francisco Landron announced through a local newspaper he couldn't do any more autopsies on St. Croix without being paid, Attorney General Vincent F. Frazer thanked Landron for rising above the call of duty and said his money is on the way.
“As pledged, the Department of Justice is in the midst of processing a substantial, outstanding, payment to Dr. Landron for a number of autopsies that he has been called on to perform on St. Croix in recent months," said Frazer, in a statement from Government House.
St. Croix lost its medical examiner, Dr. D’Michelle Dupree, last July, leaving Landron to take up the slack. (See: "Luis Hospital Loses Medical Examiner.")
In a St. Croix Avis piece Monday, Landron told Avis writer Steve Bullock he had performed 23 autopsies since July without payment, and the amount of uncompensated work was too much for him to continue. Several years previously, Landron found himself in the same position, with unpaid bills mounting up, and the government paid him when he stopped doing extra work, he told the Avis.
Frazer said losing Dupree strained the Office of the Medical Examiner’s ability to meet the demand for a pathologist in both districts, so he instructed Landron to assume the additional duties of the St. Croix Medical Examiner.
“I determined that the need to have a skilled pathologist readily accessible to both districts was imperative to meeting the territory’s unavoidable obligation to conduct postmortem examinations”, said Frazer, “and that the Department of Justice would incur the costs associated with this need.”
Along with Landron’s regular salary, Justice also bears the cost of his transportation from St. Thomas to St. Croix when needed, and pays Landron extra, above his salary for each autopsy that he performs outside the scope of his St. Thomas/ St. John District duties, Frazer said.
“It is the expenditure of these additional monies that have put a strain on the department’s budget and have caused it to fall behind in its otherwise timely payment to Dr. Landron," Frazer said. "Under the circumstances, the department did what it had to in order ensure that the medical services afforded to the rest of the territory would not be withheld from the residents of St. Croix.”
Landron suggested creating a territorial medical examiner’s position, eliminating the need for two separate pathologists, and offered to fill the position for less than the cost of two medical examiners. And Frazer said Justice is seriously considering that option.
"However, the adjustment cannot be made until the start of Fiscal Year 2010, which doesn’t begin until October of 2009,“ Frazer said. "In the meantime, Dr. Landron’s services are critical to filling the void left behind on St. Croix by the departure of Dr. Dupree.”
Frazer thanked Landron for his work and his patience.
“I think I speak for the entire community in thanking Dr. Landron for his dedicated service to the territory," Frazer said. "His understanding and cooperation is appreciated as the Department of Justice works swiftly to resolve this matter.”

Back Talk


Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.