FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Nearly six months after Joshua Perper resigned as Broward County’s Medical Examiner, the county has announced his replacement.
Dr. Craig Mallak has been tapped to take over as he new Chief Medical Examiner and director for the Office of Medical Examiner and Trauma Services for Broward County.
“Dr. Mallak brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Broward County. His credentials are impressive and extensive including degrees in criminalistics, law and medicine, and board certification from the American Board of Pathology in anatomic, clinical and forensic pathology,” said Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry.
Mallak brings more than 20 years of experience serving in a medical capacity for the Armed Forces, most recently as the United States Armed Forces Medical Examiner. He is expected to transition to Broward County in the near future pending formal release from active duty.
In the capacity of United States Armed Forces Medical Examiner, Dr. Mallak managed the Armed Forces Toxicology Laboratory and presided over a $50 million budget and staff of 250 people, including pathologists, toxicologists, DNA scientists and support personnel. He provided comprehensive death investigation services to the U.S. military and other federal agencies, and provided oversight in the death investigations of a number of high profile cases, including the Space Shuttle Columbia, the Haiti earthquake, and terrorist activities abroad.
As Broward County’s Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Mallak will be responsible for death investigations of deceased persons whose circumstances of death are violent, suspicious, unexpected, or unattended. The Office of Medical Examiner and Trauma Services has an annual budget of $5.1 million and includes 38 staff.
The Medical Examiner’s Office was recently the subject of a scathing report by the Inspector General (OIG) which accused it of gross mismanagement and employee misconduct for its handling of narcotic medications.
According to an OIG report, “the ME presently cannot determine the whereabouts of at least 3,600 pills, including over 2,100 oxycodone and over 150 hydrocodone, which are classified as controlled substances – many of which by now may have entered into an illicit stream of commerce.”
“Our report — to be clear — finds gross mismanagement at the highest levels of the ME,” said John W. Scott, Broward’s Inspector General. “That office failed to comply with professional standards.”
During the course of their investigation, OIG inspectors said former ME Legal Investigator Supervisor Linda Krivjanik and the supervisory ME staff, including former Chief Medical Examiner Perper, failed to ensure medications entrusted to their care were properly secured, cataloged, and destroyed.
The report also indicates that the staff at the ME failed to adhere to state or office rules. Not only did the ME fail to create adequate policies for handling and disposal of medications, according to OIG investigators, it also failed to train their personnel to follow them.