Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran

Title(s)Part-Time Lecturer for the Department of Medical Education
SchoolKeck School of Medicine of Usc
AddressGNH 1937 Hospital Place
Off Campus
Los Angeles CA 90031
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    Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran MD, FRCPC, FACP, FCAP, FIDSA, FRCP (London)

    The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office is the sole institution responsible for determining the cause of all violent, sudden, accidental, and unusual deaths that occur anywhere within Los Angeles County with a staff that includes forensic pathologists, investigators, criminalists, toxicologists and various other support staff

    At the helm of this storied institution for nearly twenty-two years was retired Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner/Director (1992 to 2013).Dr. Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran. He again served Interim Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner (CME-C) for the County of Los Angeles (April 2016 to January 2017). Dr.Lakshmanan as Professor of Medicine and Pathology at the Keck School of Medicine was later requested to remain as a Consultant and Director of Operations (DOO) to the Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner (DME-C) as a USC faculty on January 19th 2017 to maintain the continuity of Department of Medical Examiner -Coroner operations during the process of hiring a new CME-C. With the appointment of a new CME-C in July 2017,and Chief Deputy Director to the DME-C, he tapered his Consultant/DOO activities to part time in 2018 and completed this assignment on December 31st,2018.As of January 1st 2019 Dr.Lakshmanan serves as a Consultant to DME-C
    His task with his staff was not only to determine the final causes of death but also to provide closure to the families of victims of traumatic and unexpected deaths.

    He is a medical graduate of Madras University, India with a conferred MD (Doctor of Medicine) from State University of New York He has been Clinical Professor of Pathology and Medicine at USC Keck School of Medicine and a former Honorary Voluntary Clinical Professor at UCLA Geffen School of Medicine.

    He is an American Board Certified Physician in several specialties including Anatomic, Clinical & Forensic Pathology, Internal Medicine, Geriatric Medicine and Infectious Diseases. He is also certified in pathology by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. As a peace officer, he holds a specialized law enforcement executive certificate from the Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training, State of California

    During his two tenures as a department head he coordinated with other management staff increasing computerization of the Department, including a major computer upgrade in 2000, Implementation of Electronic Case File Management system, an Internet site, participation in the State’s Electronic Death Registration System in 2008, and a multi-year program to digitize the Medical Examiner case files. The Medical Examiner’s office physically expanded to include adjacent office buildings at 1102 N. Mission Rd. and in the County Hospital’s Old Administration Building. Later the coroner’s office underwent a $32 million refurbishment to construct a 500-decedent capacity crypt and replace the HVAC system. In 2016 he coordinated in making the Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner CT scanner fully operational to conduct virtual autopsies, started a fully functional DNA laboratory, and transferred all historic coroner registers and artifacts from the Hall of Administration to the Hall of Justice/museum area.

    Dr.Lakshmanan also coordinated with other management staff the Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner obtaining accreditations by the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME), ANAB ISO/IEC 10025:2005 Forensic Science Testing Laboratories, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), California Medical Association-IMQ (CME), and certification by the State of California Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST).

    Over the course of his career has personally handled many High Profile cases including the Medico–legal death investigation of Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Carrie Fisher etc., and recently amended the cause and manner of death of Natalie Wood .He has testified in People versus OJ Simpson and Phil Spector trials, He and his staff have responded to several disasters including the 1986 Cerritos air crash, 1991 LAX US Air crash, 1992 Los Angeles Riots, 1994 Northridge Earthquake, 2005 Glendale Metro-link multiple fatality train incident and 2008 Chatsworth Metro-link train accident. He has also testified in Indonesia in the “OKI”trial.He has numerous publications and presentations to his credit. He has been an invited Guest speaker in international meetings in India, France, Saudi Arabia and Brazil. He was also the Health Manpower Development Plan (HMDP) expert invited by the Health Science Authority (HSA)-Forensic Medicine /Science divisions / Health Ministry of Singapore for a week in January 2013 to provide presentations in Medico-legal death investigation to Forensic Scientists, Law Enforcement and Judges. The primary objective of the HMDP is to develop Singapore’s manpower capabilities to meet evolving national needs. He has also been an invited commencement speaker and reviewer for the American journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology which is the official publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners.

    Dr.Lakshmanan was Co-editor of a textbook in “Forensic Neuropathology” published in 2007 by Academic Press –Elsevier. He is the lead Editor of another textbook-“Multidisciplinary Medico-legal death investigation –Role of Consultants” published in June of 2018 by Academic Press –Elsevier. Both Scientific Textbooks were published through a contractual agreement with the County of Los Angeles (COLA) with his royalties going to the COLA- Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner

    Dr.Lakshmanan also teaches a 2 unit course (MEDS 425-Medico legal Death investigation) for Pre-Med students as part of the Pre-Health care program of the Keck Medical School since the fall of 2014 to the present. He also teaches Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM) /Conducts workshops to First and Second year Medical Students of the Keck School of Medicine at USC since August 2014

    Moreover, while Dr. Lakshmanan was CME-C, the Department hosted the 39th Annual meeting of the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) at the Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles in 2005 and he was the program chair.

    Of note, Dr. Lakshmanan was President of the NAME for calendar year 2010 and in 2011 he was Chairman of the Board of Directors for the same.

    During his tenure as CME-C, Dr. Lakshmanan worked with organ procurement organizations (OPO) towards a zero denial policy by cooperating in the authorized removal and timely disposition of human organs and tissue from bodies of deceased persons, including victims of homicide, in accordance with law and accepted medical practice. The goal was to insure a balance between protecting the integrity of the Coroner's inquiry into an organ donor's cause and manner of death while increasing the supply of organs for potential recipients. This allowed for the OPO’s timely procurement of organs which are medically viable and supported a “win-win” situation for the potential recipient and the Medical Examiner-Coroner’s office by meeting the needs of the community as well as the criminal justice system.

    During Dr.Lakshmanan’s first tenure (1992 through 2013) he and the Department of Coroner staff participated in a reality TV show "North Mission Road". Several seasons with several dozen episodes ran between 2003 through 2007.It was a documentary-style show that detailed “unique and compelling cases” of the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner. It was first aired on truTV, and now reportedly airs in reruns on the "Justice network". The name of the show is based on the road on which the office of the Los Angeles County Coroner is located.

    In Internal Medicine/Infectious Disease, Dr. Sathyavagiswaran has been a consultant at six Los Angeles area hospitals and has provided many consultations and lectures at all these institutions.

    In August of 2020 Dr. Lakshmanan was named Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) for 2021 and was presented with the Award at the Annual AAFS meeting in Seattle on February 23rd 2022.

    On December 1st 2020 was elected by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) Board of Directors as an IDSA Fellow. Fellowship in the Society is a recognition of and honor conferred upon those who have achieved professional excellence in the field of infectious diseases.

    Elected as Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (London) as an Infectious Disease specialist in January 2023 in recognition of the important contributions made to the medical profession.
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    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help. to make corrections and additions.
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    1. National Association of Medical Examiners Position Paper: Recommendations for the Documentation and Certification of Disaster-Related Deaths. Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2023 Jul 31. Utley S, Arunkumar P, Das T, Fierro MF, Fudenberg J, Harding BE, Hoffmann BA, Keyes KA, Lewis A, Maloney K, O'Neal BJ, Pinneri K, Rapkiewicz A, Sathyavagiswaran L, Weedn V, Williams T. PMID: 37527356.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    
    2. Forensic cardiac device analysis at the Los Angeles County Department of the Coroner: A 20-year experience. J Forensic Sci. 2022 Sep; 67(5):1924-1931. Bernardes-Souza B, Tiecher RD, Do DH, Saint-Martin P, Sathyavagiswaran L, Ukpo OC, Rogers CB, Boyle NG. PMID: 35883263.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    3. Paenibacillus Sepsis and Meningitis in a Premature Infant: A Case Report. Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2021 Mar 01; 42(1):96-98. Hunt B, Rogers C, Blais RM, Adachi K, Sathyavagiswaran L. PMID: 32852292.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 8     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    4. COVID-19: Postmortem Diagnostic and Biosafety Considerations. Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2020 Sep; 41(3):143-151. Lacy JM, Brooks EG, Akers J, Armstrong D, Decker L, Gonzalez A, Humphrey W, Mayer R, Miller M, Perez C, Arango JAR, Sathyavagiswaran L, Stroh W, Utley S. PMID: 32379077; PMCID: PMC7202125.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 46     Fields:    Translation:HumansCellsPHPublic Health
    5. Improving Contagious Disease Reporting in a Medical Examiner's Office. Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2020 Sep; 41(3):160-162. Rogers C, Sathyavagiswaran L. PMID: 32796204.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:HumansPHPublic Health
    6. Postmortem Chikungunya Diagnosis: A Case Report and Literature Review. Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2020 Mar; 41(1):48-51. Reilly JM, Xing W, Levicky V, Souccar S, Rogers C, Sathyavagiswaran L. PMID: 31977345.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    Translation:HumansCellsPHPublic Health
    7. Fat transfer and fatal macroembolization. J Forensic Sci. 2015 Mar; 60(2):509-10. Astarita DC, Scheinin LA, Sathyavagiswaran L. PMID: 25653075.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 7     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    8. Evolution of the psychological autopsy: fifty years of experience at the Los Angeles County Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office. J Forensic Sci. 2013 Jul; 58(4):924-6. Botello T, Noguchi T, Sathyavagiswaran L, Weinberger LE, Gross BH. PMID: 23551031.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 5     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    9. Sexual assault documentation program. Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2012 Mar; 33(1):22-5. Willoughby V, Heger A, Rogers C, Sathyavagiswaran L. PMID: 22442832.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    10. Familicide-suicide: a cluster of 3 cases in Los Angeles County. Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2011 Dec; 32(4):327-30. Scheinin L, Rogers CB, Sathyavagiswaran L. PMID: 21512375.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 3     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    11. Fatalities of the 2008 Los Angeles train crash: autopsy findings. Am J Disaster Med. 2011 Mar-Apr; 6(2):127-31. Shackelford S, Nguyen L, Noguchi T, Sathyavagiswaran L, Inaba K, Demetriades D. PMID: 21678822.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 4     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    12. Blunt thoracic aortic injuries: an autopsy study. J Trauma. 2011 Jan; 70(1):197-202. Teixeira PG, Inaba K, Barmparas G, Georgiou C, Toms C, Noguchi TT, Rogers C, Sathyavagiswaran L, Demetriades D. PMID: 21217494.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 40     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    13. The choking game: a cause of unintentional strangulation. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2010 Mar; 26(3):206-8. Egge MK, Berkowitz CD, Toms C, Sathyavagiswaran L. PMID: 20216282.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 11     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    14. Subaortic pseudoaneurysm of the left ventricle complicating staphylococcal endocarditis. J Forensic Sci. 2009 Jul; 54(4):930-2. Saint-Martin P, Rogers C, Carpenter E, Fishbein MC, Lau S, Sathyavagiswaran L. PMID: 19486440.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    15. Pacemaker/defibrillator evaluation at Los Angeles County Department of Coroner*. J Forensic Sci. 2008 Sep; 53(5):1160-5. Saint-Martin P, Rogers C, Muto J, Boyle NG, Rieders D, Sathyavagiswaran L. PMID: 18637876.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 3     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    16. Selecting forensic pathology as a career: a survey of the past with an eye on the future. Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2008 Jun; 29(2):114-22. Hanzlick R, Prahlow JA, Denton S, Jentzen J, Quinton R, Sathyavagiswaran L, Utley S. PMID: 18520476.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 5     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    17. Investigation of homicides interred in concrete--the Los Angeles experience. J Forensic Sci. 2008 Jan; 53(1):203-7. Toms C, Rogers CB, Sathyavagiswaran L. PMID: 18279257.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 3     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    18. Restraint asphyxia in in-custody deaths Medical examiner's role in prevention of deaths. Leg Med (Tokyo). 2007 Mar; 9(2):88-93. Sathyavagiswaran L, Rogers C, Noguchi TT. PMID: 17276127.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    19. Quality improvement of patient care - forensic pathologists' perspective. Leg Med (Tokyo). 2007 Mar; 9(2):71-5. Noguchi TT, Rogers C, Sathyavagiswaran L. PMID: 17275382.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    20. The role of the forensic pathologist in quality assurance and safety of patient care. Med Law. 2005 Sep; 24(3):535-47. Noguchi TT, Sathyavagiswaran L. PMID: 16229389.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    21. Child and adolescent suicide in a large, urban area: psychological, demographic, and situational factors. J Forensic Sci. 2001 Jul; 46(4):902-7. Weinberger LE, Sreenivasan S, Sathyavagiswaran L, Markowitz E. PMID: 11451075.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 3     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    22. Forensic autopsy in a pathology training program. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 1998 Aug; 122(8):750-1. Djabourian R, Sathyavagiswaran L, Fishbein MC. PMID: 9701341.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 3     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    23. Use of Coroner's data to monitor HIV seroprevalence among injection drug users. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr Hum Retrovirol. 1996 Sep; 13(1):98-9. Simon P, Hu Y, Muto J, Sathyavagiswaran L, Denning P. PMID: 8797695.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    24. Fatal flecainide intoxication. J Anal Toxicol. 1993 Nov-Dec; 17(7):434-5. Rogers C, Anderson DT, Ribe JK, Sathyavagiswaran L. PMID: 8309219.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    25. Using pacemakers to identify decedents. J Forensic Sci. 1992 Jul; 37(4):955. Sathyavagiswaran L, Selser SF, Ferguson E, Danialzadeh E. PMID: 1506836.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    26. Ocular findings at autopsy of child abuse victims. Ophthalmology. 1991 Oct; 98(10):1519-24. Riffenburgh RS, Sathyavagiswaran L. PMID: 1961637.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 7     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    27. The eyes of child abuse victims: autopsy findings. J Forensic Sci. 1991 May; 36(3):741-7. Riffenburgh RS, Sathyavagiswaran L. PMID: 1856642.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 3     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    28. Crossbow injuries. J Forensic Sci. 1990 Jul; 35(4):886-90. Rogers C, Dowell S, Choi JH, Sathyavagiswaran L. PMID: 2391480.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 6     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    29. Acute and chronic pericholangiolitis in association with multifocal hepatic lymphangiomatosis. Hum Pathol. 1989 Jun; 20(6):601-3. Sathyavagiswaran L, Sherwin RP. PMID: 2722181.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    30. Fatal disopyramide intoxication from suicidal/accidental overdose. J Forensic Sci. 1987 Nov; 32(6):1813-8. Sathyavagiswaran L. PMID: 3323413.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
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