The Brevard County Medical Examiner is under investigation for not performing an autopsy on an 85-year-old veteran back in 2014.
A five-page report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement recommends Dr. Sajid Qaiser be placed on probation for one year. The panel also says the examiner’s office needs clear policies and procedures to make sure these kinds of violations don’t happen again.
The family of John McDonough, a decorated Korean War hero, has been calling for the investigation since their father’s mysterious hospice death.
McDonough’s family said he was discharged from a rehabilitation center in good condition before suddenly being moved to hospice care. Months after his death, the family paid for a toxicology report that revealed their father died with high levels of morphine in his system. However, Brevard County Medical Examiner, Qaiser, ruled his death accidental and the cause of death chronic myelogenous leukemia. The family said their father never had CML and didn't need to be administered to hospice care in the first place.
“This agency can no longer be trusted to provide our family and the people of Florida with a truthful determination of cause and manner of death of our beloved father,” said Timothy McDonough, John’s son.
The state of Florida Medical Examiners Commission said Dr. Qaiser was careless in his review of medical records and he should have performed an autopsy. There was also no documentation to show McDonough’s cause of death. Eleven other cases are also under review now. The panel said in some of those cases, medical records were missing and no autopsies were performed.
“How many families [are in a similar position] aside from the 11 that have been uncovered in just a very cursory examination of the record?” Timothy McDonough said. “This guy has been in office many years.”
The findings by the panel are considered preliminary. The decision for Dr.Qaiser to be placed on probation could be made in November. We attempted to contact Dr.Qaiser for comment. We have yet to hear back from him.