Officials from across the metro area came together Wednesday, June 17, to mark the opening of the new, state-of-the art Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office (MEO), 950 E. 21st St. in Kansas City.
“This is another example of regional cooperation making a whole greater than the sum of its parts,” said Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders. “It’s a state-of-the-art facility for a state-of-the-art Medical Examiner’s Office.”
Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Mary Dudley and her staff serve not only the people of Jackson County, but also the citizens of Cass, Clay and Platte counties. Official representatives of those counties also spoke and participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Sanders also thanked the members of the Jackson County Legislature who were in attendance.
After selling the nearby building in which the MEO had been housed for the past 17 years, Truman Medical Center offered the county an old warehouse on its campus. It was transformed into a modern building featuring autopsy suites that Dr. Dudley described as being “as nice as any OR (operating room).” The new building is almost 20 percent larger than the old one, and the layout is more conducive to the work of the MEO. There are nine autopsy stations, compared to five in the old building. The new parking lot has enough space for the Kansas City Regional Mortuary Operational Response Group equipment, allowing the MEO to quickly respond to a mass-casualty event.
The MEO provides 24/7 death-investigation services. It performs about 700 autopsies each year. In 2014, the office conducted 324 external body exams, completed 1,274 death certificates and reviewed 7,678 records.
“I want to thank Truman Medical Center and my hardworking, dedicated and professional team for all their cooperation in this relocation,” Dr. Dudley said. “It was a seamless transition, and we’re very happy to be in this new building.”
“For nearly 40 years, we have partnered with the city and the county, and this represents a significant improvement in the level of service,” said Truman Medical Center President and CEO Charlie Shields. “We are committed to the north campus at Truman Medical Center. It’s about our commitment to Kansas City and the urban core. It’s something the citizens of this community can be proud of."
He continued, “It’s a tremendous opportunity for the citizens of the county; it’s an opportunity for Truman, and we’re happy to be a part of it.”
Jackson County’s is the only Medical Examiner’s Office in Missouri to earn accreditation from the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME). In 2014, NAME inspectors found zero deficiencies – on a checklist of more than 350 items – in the county’s office.
“NAME officials repeatedly refer to the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office as being a model,” Sanders said, “an office others across the nation should emulate.”