County of Alameda

Forensic Pathologist (#5151)

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Bargaining Unit: Unrep - General Mgmt (U15)
$136.02-$165.26 Hourly / $10,881.60-$13,220.80 BiWeekly /
$23,576.80-$28,645.07 Monthly / $282,921.60-$343,740.80 Yearly


DESCRIPTION

Under general direction from the Chief Forensic Pathologist, performs autopsies, external examinations, professional medical consultations, medical record reviews, and provides expert witness testimony, general pathology services, and other related duties as required.   

DISTINGUISHING FEATURES  

The Forensic Pathologist classification is located in the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Coroner’s Bureau. Incumbents in this classification are responsible for performing the full scope of professional forensic pathology work that includes performing autopsies and external examinations. This classification receives supervision, direction, and training from the Chief Forensic Pathologist. This class is distinguished from the next higher class of Chief Forensic Pathologist whom is responsible for directing, organizing, and coordinating all medical activities and procedures within the Coroner’s Bureau. This class is also distinguished from other Physician classes within Alameda County in that it requires completion of a recognized forensic pathology fellowship and board certification in forensic pathology within two (2) years from date of appointment, as well as the performance of duties associated with medico-legal death investigations.


EXAMPLES OF DUTIES

NOTE:  The following are the duties performed by employees in this classification.  However, employees may perform other related duties at an equivalent level.  Each individual in the classification does not necessarily perform all duties listed.

  1. Perform post-mortem examinations of deceased individuals and use available medical and historical investigative information to establish circumstance and determine cause of death.  
  2. Participate in death scene investigations, collect trace evidence and biological specimens; direct the submission of samples of body fluids, tissues, and other samples to laboratories for toxicological, microbiological, and histological examination when analysis may be required.
  3. Document findings and conclusions in autopsy reports based on observations and interpretations; determine and provide a formal cause of death to include any significant conditions that contributed to the death in a timely fashion.
  4. Present examination findings, interpretations, diagnoses, and opinions pertaining to evidence as an expert in the field of forensic medicine.  Confer with law enforcement officers, representatives of the offices of the District Attorney and the Public Defender (or defense counsel) as well as other investigators regarding the interpretation and significance of findings. 
  5. Provide technical and investigative direction to Sheriff’s Office personnel who assist with autopsies and investigations.
  6. Respond to legal requests and serve as expert witness to testify in court with respect to autopsy findings and conclusions, toxicology reports, scene reconstruction, medical evidence interpretation, and the mechanisms of injury.
  7. Provide advisory and consultative services to Sheriff’s Office personnel, law enforcement agencies, District Attorney, other governmental agencies, and Public Health professionals.
  8. Converse with families of decedents to discuss medical aspects of cases and explain autopsy findings; make notifications regarding potential health risks associated with genetic or other familial disorders previously undiscovered.
  9. Work with organ donor networks and local hospital professionals to determine the suitability of available organs and tissues for organ donor request.
  10. Stay current with required continuing medical education required for licensure and board certifications.
  11. Work closely with consultants as needed (that includes neuropathology, cardiac pathology, anthropology, odontology, toxicology, etc.)
  12. Attends daily meetings, child death reviews, and other difficult case conferences.
  13. Assists in directing emergency responses during natural disasters, mass disasters, major incidents, and civil disorder.
  14. Assume the duties of the Chief Forensic Pathologist (CFP) as directed by the unit commander when the CFP is unavailable.
  15. Perform other duties as assigned.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS

Education:

Possession of a Doctor of Medicine or Osteopathy degree from a medical school accredited by the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) or Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME).

AND  

Successful completion of a forensic pathology fellowship program accredited by the American Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) by date of appointment.

AND

Certification:

Possession of board certification in anatomic pathology or anatomic/clinical pathology issued by the American Board of Pathology.  If board eligible in forensic pathology, must obtain board certification in forensic pathology within two (2) years from date of appointment.  

License:

Possession of a valid license to practice medicine/osteopathic medicine in the State of California by date of appointment.  

Special Requirements:

  • Must be eligible to work in the United States.
  • Successful completion of a thorough background investigation.
  • Duties require twenty-four (24) hour on-call availability to respond to scenes of sudden death or injury, or to respond to hospitals to facilitate organ donor requests.
  • Duties require exposure to accidental, physical, or biological health hazards and disagreeable situations.

 

NOTE:  The Civil Service Commission may modify the above Minimum Qualifications in the announcement of an examination.


KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS

NOTE:  The level and scope of the following knowledge and abilities are related to duties listed under the “Example of Duties” section of this specification.  

Knowledge of:

  • State and Federal laws applicable to the practice of forensic pathology and death investigation.
  • Investigative procedures and the medico-legal techniques required to determine the circumstances, cause, and manner of death as required by law.
  • Procedures and techniques utilized in forensic pathology, including forensic autopsy, interpretation of forensic toxicology results, histology, and clinical chemistry results associated with cause of death.
  • Forensic evidence collection techniques and procedures.
  • Methods and techniques of criminal investigation and crime scene processing.
  • Rules and regulations applicable to court testimony.

Ability to:

  • Perform forensic autopsies in accordance with the standards of the Alameda County Coroner's Bureau and the National Association of Medical Examiners.
  • Apply the principles and techniques of pathology.
  • Examine decedents for evidence of injury and natural disease.
  • Document and interpret injuries.
  • Collect biological and physical evidence.
  • Effectively communicate interpretations of scene reconstruction, forensic autopsy, and investigative and observational findings verbally and in writing.
  • Testify clearly, concisely, and effectively at public hearings, in courts of law and before the Grand Jury.
  • Learn, and effectively execute the policies and procedures of the Alameda County Coroner's Bureau.

CLASS SPEC HISTORY

NewSpec

IL:sa 04/23/2020

CSC Date: 05/06/2020

EL:sa Revised 04/19/2021

CSC Date: 05/05/2021

RE:sa Revised 11/16/2021

CSC Date: 12/01/2021