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PA's working in the medical examiner's office/forensics - anyone?

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Hey everyone!


So I am a PA who is currently working in the urgent care setting. I do enjoy it, but I am thinking ahead into the future (I don't think I want to stay in this setting forever) and I absolutely love forensics, particularly am interested in homicide investigation / autopsies. I did come across an old article that featured PA's in Suffolk County (Long Island NY) about being a big part of the ME office and a snippet of a podcast that featured a PA who worked in an ME's office as a Medicolegal investigator... but that seems to be all I have come across after trying to do some research. 

Anyone out there have experience/currently work in/know of any opportunities out there? 

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  • 1 month later...

I'm a deputy medical examiner for my rural county in upstate NY.  It's an appointed position, and we are independent subcontractors.  The chief medical examiner is an FP doc (he is a paid county employee) and the deputies are myself, an NP, and a couple other PAs.  I personally take call about 10 days per month, and usually handle 4-6 cases monthly.  

I don't do it for the money; it's part time, and the pay is low.  But I absolutely love the work.  I usually find it more rewarding than my clinical position.  We do everything except the autopsies.  Since we have no forensic pathologists in my county, autopsy cases are sent to an adjacent county.  Otherwise, if we're on call, we do it all, from initial scene response, investigation, followup, determine cause/manner, and issue the death certificate.  Most cases are run of the mill, but we average a couple homicides annually, and there are always unique and interesting cases.  One of mine from a few years ago actually ended up on one of those late-night TV true crime shows!

The forensic/death investigation field is pretty difficult to get into unless you know someone (I did), or can get yourself elected if you're in a coroner state.

There are some large agencies which employ PAs as medicolegal death investigators. NYC, District of Columbia, Newark, San Francisco are some that come to mind, though I'm sure there are more.  I actually interviewed with NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner a couple years ago.  The facilities and technology were absolutely amazing, the people were nice, but the pay was abysmal.  As I recall, it was about half of what I make in clinical practice.  No way I could have done it for what they were offering, but if you didn't really need the money, it would be a great job for those interested in the field.

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