LUBBOCK, TX- There is a big change coming to the medical examiner’s office after months of controversy surrounding the private group running the office. Just hours after commissioners discussed whether or not National Autopsy Assay Group (NAAG) Pathology Labs had insurance, the company announced its plans to cancel its contract with the county.
The letter states that county politics made them unable to do their jobs correctly.
“Because we serve a vital role in the criminal justice system, we must not allow politics to distract us from this vital mission. For that reason, we have made the decision to not renew our contract with Lubbock County.” -NAAG Pathology Labs
The decision was announced after county commissioners discussed an issue they found with the company’s contract, mainly to do with proof of insurance. The county requires insurance for all county sub-contractors that way the country isn’t liable for things like lawsuits.
NAAG Pathology and the medical examiner’s office have been named in several lawsuits since January 1.
“Here we are, no insurance. A week later still no insurance so I said let’s put it on the agenda,” said County Commissioner Jason Corley.
As of Tuesday night, NAAG still hasn’t provided a copy of their insurance. Corley questions if they ever had it.
“I am a doubtful at this point and very concerned,” he said. “I was hoping we’d receive a copy of the insurance and instead we recieved a letter, Judge Parris received a letter saying they won’t be looking to auto-renew their contract, that’s even more concerning.”
“I do know there’s been a lot of controversy with this particular contract,” County Judge Parrish added.
The controversy revolves around several allegations claiming NAAG Pathology harvested children’s organs during autopsies for further testing in California without parent’s consent. Those allegations are being investigated by the Texas Rangers currently.
Several past statements from a represenative for NAAG Pathology Labs said their practices were not illegal and they stand by all decisions made, also adding in the statements that parents never needed to give permission for autopsies to be conducted.
“I know going forward this is better for both parties. For both NAAG and certainly the county as well,” said Parrish.
The company has three days to provide proof to the commissioner’s court. If they don’t make that deadline, Judge Parrish said they will take the necessary next steps.