NEW YORK (AP) – The city’s long-serving medical examiner, who was injured in the Sept. 11 attacks but returned to work that day and then spent years overseeing the creation of the nation’s biggest DNA lab and identifying remains, is retiring.
Dr. Charles Hirsch was appointed in 1989 by then-Mayor Ed Koch, who recently died.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday officially announced the retirement of Hirsch, a leader in his field who has made a career of eschewing press and publicity.
“Dr. Hirsch was a visionary leader whose work earned him world renown and helped make New York City a global leader in the field,” Bloomberg said.
The 75-year-old Hirsch previously worked in Suffolk County and Ohio and served in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps. He’s a native of Chicago.
In his years in New York City, Hirsch oversaw the creation of the largest public DNA lab in the country. Because of that lab, the office was able to take on the task of trying to identify the remains of the victims of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, work that continues.
Hirsch was injured when the south tower collapsed but returned to work that day despite broken ribs and cuts.
Hirsch also worked as the chairman of forensic medicine at New York University Medical School, and his training program became highly sought after, with waiting lists of sometimes more than four years, the city said. Among his trainees are more than a dozen who have gone on to become chief medical examiners for other states or cities.
Dr. Ross Zumwalt, chief medical investigator for New Mexico and a colleague from Hirsch’s years in Ohio, said Hirsch has always been “a wonderful teacher” who took more joy in seeing a student or colleague succeed than in reaching for the spotlight himself.
“He always thought that he could best promote forensic pathology by staying at home and doing a good job in his office and by example and by training good people,” Zumwalt said.
Dr. Barbara Sampson, Hirsch’s longtime deputy, succeeds him as acting chief medical examiner.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them
- Today's radiation treatments offer better success, fewer side effects
- Tips to make watching TV on the patio even better
- What really happens when you donate to a community college?
- Sun and skin cancer: Separating fact from fiction
- 5 critical lifestyle changes for a healthy colon