Ector County Medical Examiner Explains Lack of Autopsy in Newborn's Death 2/11/14
CBS 7 News
February 11, 2014
Continuing coverage tonight on the arrest of a woman whose baby was found with traces of cocaine and later died.
Now, the Ector County District Attorney questions a decision by the Ector County Medical Examinerís Office to not perform an autopsy on the child.
Tonight CBS7 spoke with the Medical Examiner who shares her side of the story.
Dr. Anne Acreman defends the investigators decision not to order and autopsy. She says, from a medical standpoint, the baby's death was not directly caused by drug use. But, it was an investigator, not the examiner, who made that decision.
"This was attended death in a hospital, this baby had been very prematurely delivered at home, was immediately addressed with very critical care issues as soon as the baby rolled through the doors of the Emergency Room at Medical Center," says Acerman.
"What this baby had was among the very worst of severe complications of itís extreme prematurity."
The baby dealt with a laundry list of medical issues.
"They have severe lung problems, they don't breath well on their own, this baby was intubated immediately."
And the list goes on.
Acreman says the investigator--Sondra Woolf, her supervisor Shirley Standefer, the attending physician and the Police Department investigator all discussed whether or not to send the baby for an autopsy.
"Everybodyís conclusion was, well, the autopsy isn't going to add anything to this and then the police said: fine, we understand. If that's the decision, then that's the decision."
"Clearly if they had felt strongly about it, they would have pushed, they would have said, 'call Dr. Acreman, see what she thinks.'"
But, she says, at that time, they were content with the decision.
"I have never had anybody discuss a complaint with the Medical Examinerís Office before this case with me."
The Grand Jury recommended that the County Commissioners court take 'immediate action' against the M.E.'s Office but, Dr. Acreman says no one has called her about any action yet.