Review of Marion County pathologist's cases finds no problems

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — The case review is now complete for a Marion County pathologist who was fired from the Chicago Medical Examiner's office for making mistakes on autopsies.

Alfie Ballew, the chief deputy coroner with the Marion County Coroner's Office, tells 13 Investigates that the review of Dr John Cavanaugh's cases here in Indianapolis found no mistakes. An outside expert reviewed Cavanaugh's 2017 homicide cases and a number of others.

Dr. Cavanaugh


That's quite different than the Chicago findings. The Cook County Medical Examiner's office fired Cavanaugh last November and questioned the findings of his 219 autopsies. In at least eight of the 23 cases reviewed so far in Cook County, the cause or manner of death was changed. The Chicago Sun Times reported a review of one death investigation uncovered a murder that Cavanaugh incorrectly ruled as "undetermined." That sparked the review of all of his cases there.

Cavanaugh is a contracted, part-time employee of the Marion County Coroner's Office. He has worked for Marion County for seven years.

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