Medical Examiner Dr. Stephen Cina talks to ABC7

October 25, 2012 4:42:39 PM PDT
Cook County's new medical examiner has been on the job for six weeks, but he's trying to make a break from the past.

Dr. Stephen Cina discussed his plans for the office that was racked by scandal earlier this year when ABC7 broke the news that bodies were piling up in the morgue.

"What I can tell you is that when I see pictures like that, that's something that is not going to happen here," said Dr. Cina.

The ex-college football player who previously headed administration for the University of Miami tissue bank says he's got enormous challenges ahead

"I believe I am a doctor and these are my patients and that is not how you treat patients," Cina said.

Stephen Cina says he's planning a barcoding system for bodies that will ensure better tracking and that none get warehoused were when the ABC7 I-Team looked into morgue practices last summer. The breakdown led to the dismissal of his predecessor, Dr. Nancy Jones.

"I am down in the autopsy room cutting 2-3 times per week. I want to be a leader down there. I want my supervisors to be leaders and people that their employees will respect," said Dr. Cina.

Morgue employees provided ABC7 with the photos of the bodies piling up.

Cina says he wants to work with staff -- whom he calls family that have been through a difficult period -- and he's not interested in punishing those who leaked evidence of morgue mismanagement.

"I want to welcome communication that gives me information to make decisions. I don't want to get in a situation where we even need whistleblowers," he said.

Cina says the county has delivered on his budgetary requests and dysfunction will not be tolerated.

While the new M.E. would not give ABC7 a tour of the facilities he said that in year's time when he has new doctors, investigators and a new toxicology lab to show, he'll do so.

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