DAYTON — The Montgomery County Data Processing Board met by Zoom teleconference on Wednesday at 9 a.m. to discuss the purchase of a new CT scanning system and software as an emergency at the request of the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.
This special CT system will help coroner staff identify which decedents require autopsy, helping staff to limit their exposure to COVID-19.
The Data Processing Board approves the acquisition of all software, hardware and technology services by county departments.
Purchase of the reconditioned CT system, including software, license and training totals $224,900.
The COVID-19 health emergency prompted this meeting to be held by Zoom teleconference.
Meeting participants included County Auditor Karl Keith, County Recorder Brandon McClain, County Coroner Dr. Kent Harshbarger, Sheriff Rob Streck, and other members of the Data Processing Board.
The meeting was initially cancelled but suddenly reinitiated when a vendor notified the coroner’s office that the CT scanner was available after another potential buyer backed out due to budget restrictions created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I would like to be able to purchase it,” Harshbarger told the board. “It actually comes in a mobile unit.”
The scanner would be housed in a trailer outside the coroner’s office, according to Harshbarger.
“It is immediately available and right now there appears to be grant funding available, so the funding for this is coming out of my reserve from all the fees we bring in from other counties,” Harshbarger said. “There is a reserve balance that I am taping into to buy this piece of equipment, and the purpose is to not have to expose the staff to doing any autopsies on any cases we can avoid with this technology.”
Harshbarger noted that it would not remove the potential of doing hundreds of autopsies, which still must be performed.
“The advantage of the CT scanner vs. the Lodox X-ray itself, is that this has technology where we can recreate the images in 3-D so that if you have a fracture or a gunshot wound pathway, you can create a 3-D image for court from the CT scan data,” Harshbarger explained.
This eliminates the need to provide photos or internal evaluation of deceased person’s body.
“So, that’s the purpose… to try to reduce the exposure to the staff when I can,” Harshbarger added. “To have the CT in conjunction with the Lodox, we can present a package for court purposes without actually doing an internal examination. On COVID positive cases we are not doing a case now, but I could get enough data with a CT scan to make the appropriate ruling.”
He added that he could not guarantee that his office would receive grant funding to offset the purchase due to everyone in the country seeking COVID related funding at this time.
The board unanimously approved the purchase.
McClain thanked Harshbarger for being proactive.
“Obviously this is a difficult time for everyone but looking at what you have provided concerning this piece of equipment makes it obvious that it is a necessity,” McClain said.
Reach Ron Nunnari at (937) 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@aimmediamidwest.com or on Twitter @RonNunnari