The Barton County Commission Monday morning named Dr. Edward “Dusty” Jones as the 20th Judicial District coroner. Jones’ appointment is for a four-year term, 2015 - 2018.
In accordance with the Kansas statutes, the Medical Societies in each judicial district are required to submit to the county commissioners of the county with the largest population in the district, a list of persons nominated to serve a four-year term as the district coroner, County Administrator Richard Boeckman said. Barton, Ellsworth, Rice, Russell and Stafford counties comprise the 20th Judicial District, with Barton County having the largest population.
However, the appointment of Jones lead to a broader discussion of the services he performs.
The closure of St. Rose Hospital means the county has no access to a morgue now, Sheriff Brian Bellendir said. A morgue is required to conduct full autopsies, which are needed in the event of any suspicious or crime-related death.
No other hospital in the county has a morgue, he said.
The sheriff said they had been going to Hays or Wichita, but Wichita is no longer an option. This could force the post-mortum examinations to be done as far away as Kansas City.
“That’s going to be an added expense,” Bellendir said. He may have to have a deputy present at the autopsy to collect evidence, meaning that officer would have to go wherever it was being conducted.
There is also another concern. The county now has access to only one of the coolers used to transport a body. If there is more than one fatality involved, this could cause problems.
The cooler is being stored at a local mortuary.