SPOKANE, Wash. --- The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office responded Tuesday after the Washington State Department of Health announced they were launching a probe into the office.
Department of Health officials confirmed an investigation has been started against Dr. John Howard and Dr. Sally Aiken with the Spokane County Medical Examiner's Office. Officials said they received a complaint asking for a review of several recent cause of death rulings.
A spokesperson for the county responded to questions about the investigation Tuesday afternoon.
“Manners of death (Accident, Suicide, Natural Causes, Homicide, and Undetermined) are based on evidence available to the Medical Examiner,” wrote Jared Webley on behalf of the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office. “Under state law, comments cannot be made about specific cases; however, the Medical Examiner will always review additional material evidence as it becomes available.”
In response to questioning about specific cases, Webley said state statutes prevented them from disclosing any details on specific cases.
“Determinations are based upon the evidence presented and national standards and guidelines. Both Spokane County Medical Examiners are Board certified in forensic pathology and the Office holds national accreditation,” he said in an email. “The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office has met or exceeded independent inspection standards, to include all governing policies and procedures.”
Webley said the office has not been notified of the investigation as of Tuesday afternoon but they planned to cooperate fully with the probe.
He said this is the first time the office has come under investigation.