Fixing Garden State’s Broken Medical Examiner System

New Jersey’s medical examiner system would get a top to bottom overhaul under a proposal designed to create a more coordinated, independent, and professional program to investigate mysterious and suspicious deaths.

Legislation introduced last month by Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex), to reform the state’s medical examiner infrastructure is scheduled for consideration today by the Senate health committee, which Vitale chairs. Among other things, the measure would put health officials in charge, create a unified statewide system, and specify when autopsies are required.

Critics have blasted the Garden State’s system as fragmented, mismanaged, under-resourced and overworked; the situation is exacerbated by the current opioid epidemic, which killed some 2,100 residents in 2017.

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