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Disaster Team

December 31, 1987

Your otherwise excellent article (Part I, Dec. 13) on the fine work of funeral coordinator Samuel Douglass in mass disasters contains some important inaccuracies.

The public should be aware that it is the coroner's office that is responsible for the important and sensitive task of identifying the remains of disaster victims. The article was in error in stating, for example, that Douglass identified the remains of the victims of the Aeromexico crash in Cerritos. In fact, the identifications were performed by a team of forensic dentists and other personnel working under the supervision of the chief medical examiner coroner, and by the FBI fingerprint team.

We join you in saluting the very valuable contributions made by Douglass. However, we believe it is important to set the record straight regarding the role of other members of the forensic team.

GERALD L. VALE, DDS, MDS

Director of Dentistry

L.A. County/USC Medical Center

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