Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office opens new facility

OKLAHOMA CITY — Governor Mary Fallin toured the new state Medical Examiner’s Office, which was unveiled on Thursday.

The Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office has faced a laundry list of issues including rusty equipment due to poor air quality and a leaky roof, eventually leading to the agency losing their accreditation from the National Association of Medical Examiners.

"I can still remember taking office and being told one of the first things we're going to figure out how to solve is how do we accreditate the ME's office and, by the way, governor, we have a really big problem with the facility we have,” Fallin said.

Now, that’s all about to change.

The former Oklahoma City-County Health Department was remodeled for the new ME’s Office facility.

"What you will not see is the true complexity of the biosafety air handling in this building. It is massive, and complicated and designed to keep people that are working in there very safe,” said Dr. Eric Pfeifer, the State Medical Examiner.

It includes a freezer which once held 40 bodies, that can now hold up to 200.

The toxicology lab, one of the 10 busiest in the country, has doubled in size.

"I think, back as we walked up and down the hallways, we had 300 boxes of cases that were still active. Now, those boxes of active cases have been archived and are available, and it just looks so different,” said Rocky McAlvany with the Oklahoma Medical Examiners Board.

"It's an exciting day. It's a hopeful day to be able to see something great happen and to see a problem solved,” Fallin said.