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Coroner wants new medical facility to have morgue

Lawrence County Coroner Dr. Kurt Hofmann has a suggestion for those planning the new St. Mary’s medical facility at State Route 141 and U.S. 52: please include an office for the coroner’s use.

Right now Lawrence County does not have a morgue: Morgues are generally in hospitals and Lawrence County doesn’t have a hospital.

In a letter to the Lawrence County Commission, Hofmann said he and his assistant, Bill Nenni, use their private offices and personal equipment to conduct coroner’s office business.

“The computers, printers, copiers, fax machines, etc., are being donated by Mr. Nenni and me,” Hofmann said in his letter. “Records are currently being stored on our business computers. We are possibly the only county office maintaining current files both on paper and electronically. Older records are being stored in the house next to the 911 building. These records are subject to roof leaks, fire, vandalism, etc.”

Hofmann is proposing an office that is 1,000 square feet or smaller. He said initial estimates put construction and equipment at $250,000.

He said he did not anticipate additional staffing.

He suggested that grants and other funding may be available to help pay for the cost of the facility.

“Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus are the closest places for us for a forensic autopsy,” Hofmann said in his letter. “We would be the only place in southeast Ohio capable of performing such a service. It is possible to contract with other counties in our area to do their autopsies. This could be a source of ongoing revenue.”

The commission agreed to forward the letter to hospital officials.