Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Labs Reaccredited

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Media contact:
Thomas P. Gilson, Medical Examiner: (216) 698-3154
Hugh B. Shannon, Acting Administrator: (216) 443-7173

CLEVELAND — The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office learned this week that the accreditation of its laboratories was renewed and upgraded to international status by the Lab Accreditation Board of the American Society of Crime Lab Directors.

The accreditation means that the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office labs, including its Regional Forensic Science Laboratory (or “crime lab”), meet internationally-recognized standards for the operation of forensic laboratories. The accreditation is in effect for five years.

County Executive Ed FitzGerald said this shows the Medical Examiner’s Office is moving in the right direction. “We are already showing progress in that office,” he said.

Dr. Thomas Gilson, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner, said the accreditation is the result of a lot of hard work on the part of laboratory staff.

“I really need to recognize lab directors Dr. Harmeet Kaur, Dr. Nasir Butt, Dr. John Wyman and the excellent team of scientists and staff that worked so hard to achieve this. This recognition of the quality of our work is a true testament to their dedication,” Gilson said.

The accreditation is another validation of the quality work performed by the Medical Examiner’s Office. The office’s labs have already been accredited by American Association of Blood Banks for DNA testing. The labs also meet FBI Quality Assurance Standards for inclusion in both the Combined and National DNA Index Systems.

The office’s toxicology laboratory is preparing its review by the American Board of Forensic Toxicology for accreditation in 2012. The office is also preparing for accreditation by the National Association of Medical Examiners in early 2012.

Dr. Gilson said accreditation by those two organizations would make the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office and its crime lab the most highly accredited public crime lab under one roof in the United States.