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NJ family suing NC over medical examiner's mistake

Posted April 30, 2013
Updated May 1, 2013

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— North Carolina's longtime chief medical examiner said Tuesday that shipping the wrong corpse to a New Jersey funeral home five years ago was an innocent mistake by a medical examiner in Guilford County.

Dr. John Butts, who retired in 2010, testified in a state Industrial Commission hearing into a lawsuit against the state Department of Health and Human Services and what is now known as the Department of Public Safety. The Industrial Commission handles all tort claims against the state.

Edward Young, brother of dead NJ woman Family says NC needs be held accountable for body mix-up

Lorraine Young and two friends were killed in a Sept. 15, 2008, car wreck in Guilford County, but the Young family said that, as they prepared for a funeral, they were horrified to find that one of the other women's bodies was sent to the funeral home.

"I don't feel a full investigation was conducted," Young's brother, Edward Young, said Wednesday. "People need to be held accountable for their lack of action."

Butts said, however, that the local medical examiner handled the case appropriately because there was no reason for him to conduct autopsies. Paramedics had identified each of the three accident victims, tagged the bodies and filled out the appropriate paperwork before sending the bodies to the morgue, he said.

The hearing is expected to continue Wednesday in Orange County.


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  • beachboater May 1, 7:14 p.m.

    Watch the video. Rene says they discovered the mistake from a purse in the body bag that contained all 3 women's passports. Were the bodies damaged beyond recognition?

    I agree anything for a buck, but something just doesn't seem right about the NJ identification.

  • North Carolina Cutie May 1, 4:39 p.m.

    Anyway to get money.

  • NJDEVILSFANINNCHELL May 1, 4:32 p.m.

    Anything to get a buck!!

  • whatelseisnew May 1, 4:20 p.m.

    I can understand being very upset by this, but all these people are doing is harming the taxpayers of North Carolina. Someone made a bad mistake and while it is difficult to understand how that could happen, people DO make mistakes. Maybe NC should change its policy and require family members to come get the bodies themselves, or sign a waiver that holds NC harmless for any identity mistakes.

  • gordonbabe May 1, 4:17 p.m.

    Easy money is all this is an attempt to get. So the wrong body was shipped... WHOA "shipped"? If they cared so much, why didn't the family DRIVE down here, identify her and ride back with her? Accidents happen, people suffer, but they're not all "suit-worthy".

  • didisaythat May 1, 1:39 p.m.

    What does a lawsuit do for this case? It sounds like an innocent mistake...oh that is right no one makes mistakes, it is all a vast conspiracy and they did this on purpose. People it is a shame your family member died, it is a shame this mistake happened, but what are you holding accountable. That someone doesn't make a mistake again...not going to hapen..uh oh, I made a mistake...happen.

  • HillBilly01 May 1, 12:38 p.m.

    Hey dude, take the caps lock off. Does nothing for your point.

  • smdrn May 1, 12:06 p.m.

    The family should have come down, made a positive ID,signed release forms, then made arrangements for the body to be sent back to Jersey. This was a horrible thing to happen, but it's not law-suit worthy when the family was equally at fault.

  • orangemoonlite May 1, 10:53 a.m.

    5 YEARS ago??? Come on people.

  • rachel May 1, 10:31 a.m.

    for goodness sake, doesn't anyone allow someone to make a simple mistake any more without jumping on the "sue" wagon?- Errors that happen without malice are not money making opportunities!