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Government & Politics

Ohio Woman Argues to Limit a Coroner's Power to Change a Death Certificate

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ESB PROFESSIONAL
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SHUTTERSTOCK

A bill that could limit a coroner’s power over death certificates is under debate at the Statehouse.

In May 2014, Debbie Meadows died 11 days after her car was hit by a repeat drunken driver. The Columbus woman’s initial death certificate blamed blunt force trauma to the head. Meadows’ daughter-in-law Dawn Call says a review of the autopsy, after the examiner who did it was fired, determined the cause of death was cancer.

“Because of that we didn’t have a case after that. We had to dismiss the charges of vehicular homicide and he’s serving days instead of years in jail now. This is his third offense.”

Call testified in favor of a bill requiring a coroner to get permission from a judge to alter a death certificate. A spokesman for the Ohio State Coroners Association says the group is still looking over the bill, but notes survivors already have the option of asking a court to change a cause of death.