Alberta to hire more pathologists

Alberta Justice is expanding the capacity of the Medical Examiners office after the three forensic pathologists in Calgary announced they are leaving.

Alberta Justice is expanding the capacity of the Medical Examiners office after the three forensic pathologists in Calgary announced they are leaving.

The province currently has six medical experts who help the justice system investigate crimes and other deaths by performing autopsies.

There are four positions in Edmonton and three in Calgary.

Alberta Justice says it is adding three forensic pathologist positions, bringing the total in Alberta to ten.

One examiner, Dr. Michael Belenky,  left the Calgary office in January.  And the two remaining pathologists have said they are leaving this year.

Alberta Justice is reviewing the files Belenky handled.

Errors were found in one of his autopsy reports after he stepped down. A special prosecutor will go over all expert findings in death investigations prepared by Belenky since he was hired in 2008.

The other two Calgary specialists, Dr. Sam Andrews and Dr. Evan Matshes, have served notice they will leave their jobs by this fall because of heavy workload.

Until replacements are found, files will be redistributed with the help of the four pathologists in Edmonton, Justice spokesman David Dear said last week.

He added that this would likely result in delays to cases that are before the courts.

Alberta Justice spokeswoman Julie Siddons says the government is working to ensure the shortage doesn't affect the number of cases the Justice Department investigates.

The vacant and new positions have been advertised in Canada and the United States.

With files from CBC News