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May 05, 2008
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Firsthand account: Police surgeon

By Francis V. Adams
The Los Angeles Times

Police surgeons in European countries are forensic pathologists who perform autopsies and investigate crime scenes. In this country, police surgeons are drawn from a variety of medical specialties and are responsible for the well-being of police officers.

About a year ago, I was sworn in as a police surgeon and was assigned a medical district to which I would report daily. There, I would see members of the service who had called in sick, reviewing their care and their ability to return to work. I was also placed in a rotation with my fellow surgeons to be on call twice a month in case an officer is hospitalized. In those instances, a police surgeon must report to the hospital to see the injured officer.

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