NAAG Says Problems Persist at Lubbock Medical Examiner’s Office
NAAG Pathology Labs, once in charge of the Lubbock County Medical Examiner’s Office, has penned a letter to Lubbock County Judge Curtish Parrish.
In the letter, Doctors Evan Matshes and Sam Andrews complain about how they were treated unfairly by county officials and wrongly accused of several illegal activities by members of the community.
They also bring attention to what they call, “long standing problems” in the Medical Examiner’s Office. They say other pathologists who have worked in Lubbock County are actively warning others in their profession about taking a position there.
The letter comes 1 week after the resignation of Lubbock Medical Examiner, Dr. John Lang, and the appointment of Acting Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Charles Addington.
In his resignation letter, Dr. Lang says he had dissolved the hundreds of cases that had been backlogged at the Lubbock County Medical Examiner's Office and created a “. . . efficient functioning Medical Examiner’s Office.”
But NAAG Pathology Labs, in their letter, questions that claim and implores county officials to, “. . . stop using the office as a political punching bag.” Read the full letter below:
Dear Judge Parrish,
RE: Hot Mess in Lubbock County
Once again Lubbock County is looking for a new medical examiner. You are correct that these positions can be difficult to fill especially since those who work in our field are well aware of the long standing problems in your office and the unfair and very public abuse that we took trying to address the problems we found upon our arrival.
- The simple act of showing technicians how to properly do their jobs led to a false allegation of practicing medicine without a license.
- Allowing the county to utilize our secure facilities in California at no charge, because of a lack of security in the Lubbock office, led to the ridiculous allegation that we were conducting medical research.
- Litigation and negative publicity led to multiple investigations, which continue to be mentioned in news coverage but have never resulted in any finding of wrongdoing.
It is important to note that despite all of the false allegations and political game playing no one questioned the quality of our work.
When we terminated our contract with Lubbock County — due to the bewildering, toxic way in which we were treated — our replacement and his political supporters spent meeting after meeting offering congratulations for “finishing the NAAG backlog”, entirely skipping over the reality that, in addition to the hundreds of “new” cases that NAAG closed during our tenure, we also closed over 400 cases that had been left unfinished by the medical examiners who preceded us. This political back-slapping was ever more bizarre given the reality that (a) every medical examiner has a “backlog” when they end their employment…anywhere…, and (b) NAAG promptly closed all of its open cases, without any additional charge to the County.
Now we see that many of the employees we hired for Lubbock County have left under questionable circumstances, with at least one receiving a cash pay-out at the end of their employment last week. The timing of this “settlement” certainly raises serious and important questions given the sudden, apparently unplanned departure of Dr. Lang.
While we have tried to move on with our careers and explain that the allegations against us were brought in bad faith and are false, other pathologists who previously worked in Lubbock County are posting negative comments about Lubbock on international message boards that serve our profession globally. For example:
“Everyone should steer clear of Lubbock. It is a career-ending job You DO NOT want to be caught up in the cesspool and find yourself also a target of the FBI and the rangers. This is my duty to warn my colleagues.”
Forensic pathologists spend 4 years in medical school followed by 5 or more years training as specialists in pathology, and subspecialists in forensic pathology. These rare, highly specialized skills are critical to the public health system (e.g. the COVID19 pandemic) and to the fair administration of justice.
If Lubbock wants to end the hot mess in its Medical Examiners office, county officials must promise to stand firm against critics with personal or political motives to undermine the office’s work, provide adequate funding for staff and facilities, and stop using the office as a political punching bag.
With kind regards,
NAAG PATHOLOGY LABS