SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY PATHOLOGIST RESIGNS
SAYS SHERIFF MOORE MADE HER JOB IMPOSSIBLE
A forensic pathologist who conducts autopsies for San Joaquin County resigned Monday, claiming she was denied the independence to do her job.
In the resignation letter, obtained by KQED, Dr. Susan Parson wrote that she accepted a job offer in San Joaquin County last year for a chance to work with its chief forensic pathologist, Dr. Bennet Omalu, famous for his discovery of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative brain disease that has been detected after death in some football players. Omalu’s story is chronicled in the movie “Concussion,” starring Will Smith.
But in her letter to the county administrator on Monday, Dr. Parson stated that Sheriff Steve Moore’s “attempts to influence and control our professional judgment and conclusions” had made her “day-to-day experience in the County personally unbearable and professionally unsustainable.” In San Joaquin and 49 other California counties, the elected sheriff also serves as coroner.
“This ultimately undermines the overall competence of the Coroner’s Office in conducting objective death investigations for the county,” Parson wrote.
She did not respond to a request for comment, but her labor representative, Patricia Hernandez, with the Union of American Physicians and Dentists, spoke for Dr. Parson and Dr. Omalu.
“They do not have the independence and control over their professional practice,” she said. “And they are being told what to do by a non-physician, which is illegal.”
Sheriff Moore did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But did release this: