Cases of Fired Pathologist Reviewed after Wrong Rulings

May 28, 2018

The Cook County, Illinois medical examiner's office is reviewing the work of a fired pathologist to determine if he made the correct rulings on 218 cases he handled.

Medical examiner spokeswoman Becky Schlikerman says the work by John E. Cavanaugh contained both clerical errors and errors with his medical findings. 

Officials say in one case, Cavanaugh found "no clear evidence of trauma" on a body that was found in a burning apartment. It was later determined the man suffered multiple wounds. The cause of death was changed from undetermined to homicide.

Cavanaugh handled cases from the time he was hired in January 2017, at an annual salary of $250,000, to when he was fired in November. So far, the office has examined 23 cases and changed findings in eight of them.

Cavanaugh said the problems that led to his firing were "not so much over the autopsies as it's the reports."