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Alexandrov calls it at day at FSC

Published: 
Friday, September 8, 2017

Today will be forensic pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov's last day at the Forensic Science Centre (FSC) in St James.

Alexandrov has resigned citing health health reasons with over a year's service still to go on his current contract. He has high blood pressure and at 70 years he says the manual lifting of bodies it taking a toll on him. He resigned effective August 31, but on the request of seniors remained one week longer as the National Security Ministry finalises a contract with fellow pathologist Dr Eslyn McDonald-Burris by the end of next week.

The FSC has three pathologists who work in a one in three-week roster.

Next week, Dr Hughvon Des Vignes will be performing all the autopsies at the FSC in the hope McDonald-Burris resumes duty the following week. Earlier this year, her contract ended and sources yesterday told the T&T Guardian she had requested to work part time if she is asked to return.

On Monday, with 13 autopsies to be done and limited staff, Alexandrov was close to abandoning his job. But with the intervention of FSC director Arlene Lewis, the necessary assistance was found and nine of the autopsies were done.

In a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday Alexandrov said when he staged a one-man protest last August he was met by National Security Minister Edmund Dillon, who assured some of his many concerns, which hinged on poor management of the facility, would be addressed. To date, however, he said many of issues have not been dealt with.

During the protest, Alexandrov had refused to do any work for two days as he complained of being overworked due to under-staffing issues. Following a meeting with superiors, Alexandrov returned to work on the premise there would be an increase in the staff, which never materialised, and other infrastructural improvements.

Alexandrov also said yesterday that the mortuary staff needs to be increased from five to at least 12 given the number of autopsies done at the facility. He said to date there have been over 700 autopsies and there are now four attendants after one of them died and was not replaced.

Some of Alexandrov’s requests over the years to improve the facility were:

One mortuary assistant for every 100 cases, or at last 10 mostly strong men to do lifting of bodies.

24-hour access to the refrigerator at the FSC to preserve evidence

Autopsies on weekends to escape a pile-up on Mondays and to facilitate Muslims and other religious beliefs

Counsellors available for bereaved relatives

Annual reports of FSC work done submitted to the National Security Ministry