Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday appointed the acting chief medical examiner to the position permanently, a move hailed by one Jewish group as the best thing the mayor could have done for the community.
Barbara Sampson, a leading expert in the field of forensic pathology, will remain at the helm of the office charged with overseeing investigations into deaths and running the largest DNA laboratory in the nation.
Yanky Meyer, founder and president of Misaskim, said that he has met with her “tons of times” and call Sampson “a true asset to the city and to the community.”
Meyer, whose group deals with disaster relief and helping mourners, said that Sampson spoke at a meeting he arranged last year for all the New York City chevrah kaddishas.
“The mayor has made a lot of appointments,” he noted. “This particular nomination that he did here is one of the best things that he did for the Jewish community.”
Meyer said that the importance of the relationship he and other Jewish groups have built with Sampson, as well as with her predecessor, Charles Hirsch, cannot be overstated. This is because the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office is followed across the world for the latest developments in terms of sensitivity to the dead and their families, and the extent that they go to determine the cause of death.
“What the Medical Examiners’ Office does in New York City ricochets across the United States and across the globe,” he said.
The chief medical examiner has the responsibility to investigate all deaths occurring from criminal violence, by accident, by suicide, suddenly when in apparent health, or in any unusual or suspicious manner. They also are responsible for establishing the cause of death and maintaining records on all deaths investigated.
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg appointed Sampson as acting chief medical examiner in 2013 upon Hirsch’s retirement.