PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Escambia County commissioners discussed the problems and possible solutions to an overcrowded medical examiner’s office at their meeting Thursday.
The lack of space is causing delays in autopsies and funeral services in the morgue. There’s very little room for coolers and autopsy tables, according to the county.
“One of the things said from the podium by one of the employees was the possibility of stacking bodies in the hallway,” Commissioner Steven Barry said. “That’s a very troubling image.”
In the end, it will be up to all counties in the district to fix the problem and split the cost. The first district includes Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties.
“When I visited they had this McGyvered collection system because the thing was leaking so bad,” Commissioner Jeff Bergosh said. “They had tarps collecting the water into barrels. It was just bush league. It was rustic.”
One option is to expand the current office at Ascension Sacred Heart into a vacant building on the hospital campus. Another option is to build a new multi-million dollar facility.
“It’s hard to believe that it’s not going to be more cost efficient to try to work and expand and improve something where we are rather than just starting from scratch and building new brick and mortar,” Barry said.
Two other counties have said they’re on board with a new facility in a more central location like Santa Rosa County but Escambia County commissioners said they want to keep it here where the majority of deaths are reported in the district. Those deaths include people who live in surrounding counties but come here for care.
“A lot of those folks end up coming to Escambia County to one of the big three hospitals then sadly, they die here, so it always made sense to me what you said Steve about keeping the footprint here,” Bergosh said.
In the coming months, they plan to call a joint meeting to get on the same page with representatives from each county.