Mistakes pile up for MA medical examiner's office

The Massachusetts state medical examiner's office in Boston has had its fair share of problems over the past few years. Most recently, a box of human bones was discovered by a worker cleaning out a cooler last month, which led to the dismissal of the office's forensic anthropologist, Ann Marie Mires. The bones were left behind after the rest of the body was shipped to a funeral home for burial in July 2007. A similar incident occurred nearly two years ago, when bones from a body released for burial were found in Mires's office. 

Mires claims that the mistakes were "a failure in the system" that's "still broken," and may have a case considering that nearly two years ago, Governor Deval Patrick fired chief medical examiner Dr. Mark Flomenbaum when his staff "temporarily misplaced a body." The medical examiner's office also admitted, last month, to allowing the body of a woman to be cremated before it was determined if her death was a homicide, and to releasing the wrong body to a funeral home when his remains were set to be cremated. 

Still, Terrel Harris, a spokesman for the state's Executive Office of Public Safety, said that Mires had been warned before about protocol for handling human remains. Mires claims that in the most recent incident, she examined the bones, then left them in a box next to a bag with the rest of the tissue remains. She says that both the bones and the tissue should have remained together, and blames whoever separated the two for the blunder. 

For more:
- here's the Boston Globe article

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