State Medical Commission expanding investigation of Pierce County's medical examiner

VIDEO: Expanding investigation against Pierce County Medical Examiner

TACOMA, Wash. — The Washington Medical Commission has announced it is broadening its investigation into Pierce County Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Clark based on allegations made by a colleague, Associate Medical Examiner Dr. Megan Quinn.

In a letter obtained by KIRO 7, Quinn was told, "A panel of Commission members reviewed the materials you submitted and authorized an expanded investigation into Dr. Clark's alleged conduct.”

Those allegations include that Clark, “fails to send vitreous electrolytes," bodily fluids, “for testing in the deaths of children that were ruled undetermined,” that he “performs limited autopsies in cases of undetermined SIDS.” or sudden infant death syndrome, and “fails (to) perform autopsies on charred bodies recovered from a fire scene.”

Content Continues Below

“I believe that he deliberately makes a decision to take shortcuts,” Quinn told KIRO 7 in January shortly after she filed her complaint. She is one of three forensic pathologists, including two former associate medical examiners, who have filed complaints against Clark with the state medical commission.

“If the county is going to regain confidence in its medical examiner, Dr. Clark needs to go,” said Dr. Matthew Lacy, a former associate medical examiner in Pierce County who now works for Snohomish County. Lacy, who spoke to KIRO 7 in March, has also filed a complaint with the Medical Commission.

Clark faces complaints by two forensic investigators still working for Pierce County and three families, claiming his conclusions in the death investigations of their loved ones were wrong.

KIRO 7 contacted a spokeswoman for Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier regarding the Medical Commission’s decision to expand its investigation into Clark. Libby Catalinich, communications director, responded in an email, saying she was not aware of the decision.

More news from KIRO 7