Schuylkill County Coroner Concerns

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(WBRE/WYOU) — Controversy surrounds the Schuylkill County Coroner’s Office, with families of the deceased growing increasingly frustrated by results and services.

Eyewitness News reported last month about a mother who had serious concerns about the treatment by the coroner’s office of her deceased daughter. Now more loved ones are coming forward with complaints and are demanding change.

There’s growing public concern about the Schuylkill County Coroner’s Office. Current coroner, Dr. David Moylan, says he’s heard those complaints. Chief among them, his push for post mortum CT scans or “virtual autopsies.” He says they are cost-effective and only run the county roughly $100.

“An open, traditional autopsy starts at $2,000 and goes north from there. It’s a tremendous saving and takes all the guesswork out of figuring out why a person died,” Moylan said.

Joe Craig disagrees. He was one of many to share stories at a meeting in Schuylkill Haven. His wife suddenly died last November.

“I said let’s do the virtual autopsy for now and see what happens,” Craig said.

Craig’s decision led to a five-day wait for an autopsy. He says that led to liquid filling his late wife’s lungs post mortem. That, in turn, led to a misdiagnosed cause of death as pneumonia. Craig says because of that experience, he’s lost faith in the coroner’s office.

“After the death certificate had already been given, he looked straight in my eye and said ‘Do you want me to change the cause?’ No coroner should ask a family member if they want to put the cause of death for what I said versus what he thinks it should be,” Craig said.

Families say Wednesday night’s meeting allowed them to feel like they weren’t alone in their concern. The meeting was organized by current deputy coroner Deb Detweiler who tells Eyewitness News this wasn’t a political move despite running against Moylan this November.

Detweiler and many others at that meeting are echoing the sentiment that while the virtual autopsies that Moylan is pushing for more of are cost-effective, their use has caused more issues than they’ve solved.

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