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Rockdale coroner wins distinction
(Left to right) Commissioners Oz Nesbit, JaNice Van Ness, Dr. Stephen Boyle, Wende Parker, Program Manager, Eastern Georgia, Rachelle Carnesale, Child Fatality Investigation Director, Eva Pattillo, Director, Malaika Shakir, Program Manager, Western Georgia, Arleymah Raheem, Prevention Specialist, and BOC Chairman Richard Oden. Boyle was presented the award at a recent Board of Commissioners meeting

Rockdale coroner Dr. Stephen Boyle and the county team were recently honored with an award for 2008 Child Fatality Review Coroner of the Year for reviewing and reporting unexpected or unexplained child deaths.

"His efforts regarding child death prevention were deemed superb and extraordinary in the area of having a multidisciplinary team approach to child death investigation and reporting," the county said in a released statement.

The Child Fatality Review board is a statewide program in each county that reports their findings back to a central location. After an unexplained or unexpected child fatality, the board assembles personnel from agencies and departments such as the school system, law enforcement, health department, magistrate court, juvenile court, medical examiner, and DFACS and examines the information surrounding the death.

"The goal is to try to see if we can alleviate or deal with those common mechanisms that cause children's death," said Rockdale County District Attorney Richard Read, who chairs the committee. For instance, he pointed out, with the central reporting system, a parent who had multiple instances of suspicious circumstances surrounding a child's death could no longer just move out the county into another jurisdiction. Likewise, the system helped discover some correlations between sleep position for infants and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

"I think, Dr. Boyle has been recognized because he and his office and his staff do a good job of recognizing when it's appropriate for a child's death to be reviewed. They do it in a very timely fashion," Read said.

Boyle deflected some of the attention, saying "They [give the award] by focusing on the coroner, but the effort is a team effort," said Boyle, citing the efforts of all the coordinating agencies and of Read's efforts.

In 2008, there were three child deaths reviewed in Rockdale County, all involved in motor vehicle accidents.