Hospitalists have taken positions in every corner of healthcare: the C-suite, hospital administration, and even nominee for U.S. surgeon general.
Now, add county coroner to the list.
This month, hospitalist Adam Duckett, MD, was elected coroner for Cayuga County, N.Y., whose county seat of Auburn is about 30 miles west of Syracuse. Dr. Duckett, who had never run for public office, is a hospitalist at Auburn Community Hospital and serves as a board member for Hospice of the Finger Lakes.
The Hospitalist spoke with him about his new post, which might make him the only hospitalist/coroner in the country.
Question: HM is a time-consuming job. Why take time out for public service?
Answer: I believe everyone owes a debt of service to their community, and I felt that this was one that I would enjoy.
Q: What skills from HM apply to your new position?
A: The majority of unattended deaths in our county are related to long-standing medical illness. Because of this, I feel that in order to understand how somebody may have died, you must first know how they lived. I believe my role as a hospitalist enables me to review medical records and determine if the medical history provides enough information to determine a cause of death.
Q: What skills from your hospice care experience apply?
A: My role as a hospitalist has given me valuable insight in helping families cope with the loss of a loved one by providing explanations as to why somebody might have passed. It’s very important for a family to understand why a loved one died before they can accept it, and it’s very rewarding to help families through this process.
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