By Ernie Over, WyoToday
Fremont County is now in the autopsy business, due to the location of a forensic pathologist here and an autopsy suite at the morgue in Lander. In a report to the county commissions this month, Coroner Erin Ivie explained: “There have been seven autopsies completed at our facility since the first of the year. Three of these were for neighboring counties. Without forensic pathology services in the rest of the state, and regardless of the condition of our facility, the need has never been greater for this essential service.”
The local forensic pathologist, Dr. Randall Frost, is an employee of the coroner’s office and is called in when needed.
Ivie noted the morgue at the county courthouse in Lander is located in the former kitchen of the old jail. A previous coroner, the late Larry “Cap” Lee, purchased autopsy equipment many decades ago that is now in use in the current facility.
Ivie told the commissioners that she has contacted other counties advising them of the service available here. “I have sent an email to Wyoming coroners to offer our assistance. Positive feedback from these counties has included the professionalism and knowledge of coroner staff, timeliness of autopsy reports, proficiency in evidence collection/preservation, availability, and timesaving in regards to travel,” she wrote. “Negative feedback includes cramped conditions, lack of essential services (x-ray), lack of ventilation, uncomfortable temperature of autopsy suite (too cold), maneuverability, and lack of parking.”
The entrance to the county morgue in Lander is off the rear employee parking lot on the back side of the courthouse. Ivie also said she has been working with County Treasurer Jim Anderson “to create a line item/account for payment from outside counties.”
According to the coroner’s report, “The price we are charging for routine basic autopsy is $1,925 which includes the pathologist, autopsy technician, morgue use fee, and histology. Revenue is minimal as the services provided, at current, are routine.”
Ivie reported that funding for a new and/or updated facility has been requested. “It is understood that this process will take some time work through,” she wrote in her report.
The coroner’s office also has a Riverton morgue facility that is located inside a building at the county transportation’s shop off Airport Road. That facility, however, is only for temporary storage of bodies.