By Bob Katzen
The House and Senate both approved a bill that would require that the autopsy report for a child under the age of two be reviewed and approved by the Chief Medical Examiner to determine the cause of death.
Changes to the autopsy report would also have to be reviewed and approved by the Chief Medical Examiner. The bill needed a final round of approval by the House and Senate before going to the governor’s desk but neither branch acted upon it and the bill died.
Supporters said the measure addresses recent cases in which the Chief Medical Examiner’s office changed the cause of death for deaths of children under two, creating serious implications for ongoing court cases and for the families of those children. They noted that the most experienced person in the office should provide oversight to what are typically junior medical examiners without pediatric autopsy experience. They argued this will provide more confidence and peace of mind for families who have tragically lost infants.
Sponsor of the bill Rep. Marjorie Decker (D-Cambridge) did not respond to repeated attempts by Beacon Hill Roll Call asking how she felt about her measure dying, not reaching the governor’s desk and whether she will refile the bill for the 2023-2024 session.