Alaska selects new state medical examiner

Posted: Friday, August 10, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Dr. James Dibdin has been selected to become Alaska's new state medical examiner.

Dibdin will take over Oct. 1. He replaces Dr. Michael Propst who retired in January after serving in the job since 1994.

The state Department of Health and Social Services spent the past eight months searching for a new state medical examiner and deputy medical examiner. Dr. Susan Klingler was hired in June as the new deputy medical examiner in June. Another deputy examiner, Dr. Franc Fallico, is serving as acting examiner until Dibdin arrives this fall.

Dibdin, 51, has spent the past 11 years as a private-contract forensic pathologist in California. He also was a deputy medical examiner in Los Angeles County in the early 1990s.

Klinger worked as a medical examiner in Pennsylvania for two years, specializing in infant mortality.

''We did a national search, so it took awhile,'' said State Health Commissioner Karen Perdue. ''We've taken our time, but I think it's resulted in an excellent outcome.''

Perdue said an ideal examiner must be able to work with many people, including law enforcement officials, health officers and the news media. Dibdin's background proved he's worked well with people in those jobs before, Perdue said.

State medical examiners perform medical investigations when someone dies under unusual circumstances, such as in a homicide or suicide or from a disease that could be a public health threat.

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