Preckwinkle's office addressing 'serious' issues at morgue

June 29, 2012

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's office is trying to address almost two dozen serious safety violations found at the county's morgue.

The state Department of Labor investigated the Medical Examiner's office for more than four months earlier this year. It found 21 violations, most of which were labeled "serious."

Among the issues, employees were allowed to eat and drink in a place where there were likely infectious materials and bloodborne pathogens. Also, nobody ensured that employees were wearing goggles or face shields during procedures when blood might splatter and bodies had fallen off of damaged racks of trays, which were sometimes as high as 10 feet off the ground.

In a statement issued Friday, Preckwinkle says employees have been tested for Hepatitis B with even more tests scheduled.

She said other changes, such as replacing those damaged trays, will be done in phases.

Preckwinkle said four employees have been fired and seven others disciplined.

Last week, the head of the medical examiner's office, Nancy Jones, announced she's stepping down at the end of July.