Thursday, May 24, 2007

Med. examiner in boot camp death will not be recommended to Gov.

Posted on Wed, May. 23, 2007

A medical examiner who performed a disputed autopsy on a teenager who died after an altercation with boot camp guards will not be recommended to Gov. Charlie Crist for reappointment, the state's Medical Examiner's Commission voted Wednesday.

The commission voted 6-2 that Dr. Charles Siebert should not be reappointed as the medical examiner for the 14th District, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd and commission member told The Associated Press.

Judd refused to discuss the reasons behind the vote.

Siebert, whose term expires June 30, told The News Herald of Panama City that he was at Wednesday's meeting in Orlando, but left early.

"I really thought I'd get by today," Siebert told the paper.

Siebert had been undergoing a quality assurance program with Dr. Barbara Wolf, a medical examiner in Fort Myers, who reviewed all his work. His term ends June 30.

Under the program, Wolf reviewed all of Siebert's autopsies on homicides and undetermined deaths until his contract ends. The peer review program began in November, about three months after the commission first met to discuss Siebert's fate.

The commission in August, in an administrative complaint, found Siebert was negligent in performing 39 of 698 autopsies it reviewed.

In Donna Faye Reed's autopsy report, Siebert had said "the prostate gland and testes are unremarkable" - organs that are part of the male genitalia. In the second autopsy of the woman, who died in a 2004 tornado spawned by Hurricane Ivan, Siebert corrected the male genitalia, but incorrectly said she had a uterus. It had been surgically removed in an earlier operation, the complaint said.

Telephone messages left at Siebert's home were not immediately returned. A message could not be left at his office after hours.

Siebert conducted the autopsy of 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson, who died in January 2006 after he was roughed up by guards in a videotaped encounter at a Bay County sheriff's boot camp.

Siebert, medical examiner in six Panhandle counties, ruled Anderson's death was caused by natural complications of sickle cell trait, a genetic blood disorder. After an outcry from Anderson's family and the public, his body was exhumed and a second autopsy by another doctor found he died from suffocation.

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