Dr. Cusack answered the phone and said, “Man, you called at just the right time!” He told me that he had just finished talking to MediLegal Autopsy Service, a nationwide chain of independent pathologists who performed autopsies. He told me their phone number is (800) 343-2135 and seemed to be stressing the fact that they are a nationwide chain. It took me a minute but I realize that was because he thought I was calling from Los Angeles 3
Dr. Cusack said that he had called the Volusia County Medical Examiner office and a woman named Tara Clark had told him that Dr. Peele should be the one to sign the death certificate. I reiterated to Dr. Cusack that Dr. Peele refuses to sign the death certificate. Dr. Cusack told me that Dr. Peele could be fined for not signing it.
I told Dr. Cusack that it seemed like a conflict of interest to me that the medical examiner was requiring a signature from the physician to determine whether they were going to perform an autopsy, and he said, “That I do not understand.”
Dr. Cusack said, “She is here. We have her in our refrigeration facility.”
I wrote in my notes, “super nice guy; said he’d call me tomorrow between 10/11 AM”
1 Note that this website lists times as Pacific; this call began at 4:55 PM EDT
2 During our previous conversation he had told me he would be calling me back today.
3 I explained to him that I was in Sanford, Florida and had been since five o’clock this morning.