Walla Walla County Coroner's race - Ken Hall

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What do you see as the duties required of the county coroner?

I see the county coroner as being in a very, very good position to draw information and advice from many institutions, the police, physicians and the emergency medical services. I do not believe the county coroner should be a crime scene investigator. I believe the coroner should allow the law enforcement officers to do their job, the same way as the physicians.

One of the requirements of your job will be to write a budget which will have to be approved by the county commissioners. How much experience have you had writing budgets?

The experience I have in writing budgets is my own household budget. I would have to look at the previous budgets for the coroner's office, work with what the county commissioners give me and find some way to work within that budget. I realize that in these times budgets are tight, so I would take what I was given, divide by 12 and not spend over that.

Which deaths do you feel a coroner is required to investigate?

I believe a coroner would be required to investigate any type of murder, automotive accident, alcohol or drug-related death or other death where the cause is not evident. But again, I would let the law enforcement and physicians do their jobs to come up with a solution.
What are your thoughts on confiscating medications found in the home of a deceased person? Is this necessary? Why?

What I would do is institute the same thing that was used during my 27 years of working in the hospital. If there were narcotics or barbiturates, I would inventory those with a witness and either dispose of them or make sure they were secured. I would have to research whether it would be proper to turn any drugs over to a family member, but otherwise I would institute the same procedure as used in a hospital setting.

Under what circumstances do you feel an autopsy is justified?

I feel an autopsy would be justified if no other cause of death can be found and the law enforcement has not found any reason to suspect malfeasance or if family members wished to have one. However, having worked in the medical field for 27 years, I have found very few times when autopsies have been needed, (usually only in the case of a person who had no pre-existing medical condition or was suffering a disease which could have caused the death.

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