Leaders of the Misaskim organization, along with several other community organizations, warmly welcomed the appointment of Dr. Mellisa A. Pasquale as the new Deputy Chief of the Medical Examiner’s Office responsible for Brooklyn. Dr. Pasquale who served previously in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Atlanta Georgia, is extremely knowledgeable with many Jewish customs and laws that relate to her office.
Misaskim officials noted that the new head of Brooklyn’s Medical Examiner’s Office had worked closely with Misaskim in previous years. During Hurricane Sandy, in which the Bellevue hospital morgue was flooded, her sensitivity to the needs of Misaskim helped them facilitate access to a niftar who was in need of immediate burial, as required by Jewish law.
In welcoming Dr. Pasquale, Misaskim also congratulated the outgoing Brooklyn Deputy Chief, Dr. Jennifer Hammers, on her new endeavor, and noted that both the outgoing, and incoming, examiners were two seasoned professionals who “demonstrate extreme sensitivity to families of all faiths”. “We have absolute confidence in Dr. Pasquale’s responsiveness to our community’s concerns, particularly in the largest Jewish community outside of Israel,” a Misaskim spokesman said.
The role of the Medical Examiner is particularly important in cases where the cause of death is not clear and where an autopsy may be warranted but not permitted by Jewish law. Working with Misaskim, medical examiners often engage in less invasive procedures in compliance with Jewish law. In addition, New York City medical examiners are sensitive to issues like Shabbos and the important concept of burial as soon as possible.
Misaskim has been working for years in concert with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to establish protocols in respect of Jewish burial procedures. “The fact that the new appointee of the Office of the Medical Examiner has been exposed to some of our concerns in the past, and has demonstrated an unusual sensitivity, is welcome news to our community,” the spokesman concluded.