NC’s Chief Medical Examiner Announces Retirement

John D. Butts Jr, MD, chief medical examiner for North Carolina since 1987, announced May 3 that he plans to retire as of July 1, 2010.  Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Lanier M. Cansler named Deborah Radisch, MD, to replace Dr. Butts. The Chief Medical Examiner oversees a statewide network of more than 600 medical doctors who voluntarily devote their time, energy and medical and legal expertise to see that deaths of a suspicious, unusual or unnatural nature are adequately investigated.

Dr. Butts began his state service in 1975 when he was appointed Assistant Chief Medical Examiner. In 1977, he was named Associate Chief Medical Examiner prior to his appointment as Chief Medical Examiner ten years later. Dr. Butts is a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the National Association of Medical Examiners, where he also served on the Board of Directors. He has chaired the Child Fatality Review Team since he was appointed to the NC State Child Fatality Task Force in 1991.  He also serves as Clinical Professor of Pathology at the UNC School of Medicine and Adjunct Assistance Professor of Pathology at the Duke University School of Medicine.

Dr. Radisch has served as Associate Chief Medical Examiner under Dr. Butts since 2001. Since 1999, she has served as Medical Director of the NC Child Fatality Prevention Team. She is currently a Clinical Associate Professor of Pathology at the UNC School of Medicine. She previously served as Associate Chief Medical Examiner from 1986-94. She received her MD from the Bowman Gray School of Medicine of Wake Forest University and her MPH in Health Policy and Administration from the UNC-CH School of Public Health.


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