Dr. Fitton to become new county coroner in Jan.

By Martin Graham - mgraham@recordherald.com

Dr. Lenora Fitton will become the new Fayette County Coroner after receiving 9,198 votes during the 2020 General Election and will replace current Fayette County Coroner Dr. Dennis Mesker.

According to the Fayette County Board of Elections, Dr. Fitton was the only candidate who ran for the position of coroner for a term starting in January of 2021. This is not the first time Dr. Fitton has served the community in this position — in 2013 when then Fayette County Coroner Dr. Albert Gay passed away, she took over as interim coroner for a brief time.

However, this is the first time she ran for the position. The term is for four years.

“We have always had a close relationship and worked with the Fayette County Coroner,” Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth said. “We had a pretty good working relationship previous to this. Dr. Fitton has been a part of this community for a long time now, but she served an interim term as coroner. During that time she served and we had some experience working with her at the time. Dr. Dennis Mesker was then given the appointment as coroner via a process detailed in the Ohio Revised Code to finish out that term. Dr. Fitton worked several cases with us and she was very professional, very easy to work with, very responsive to what we needed as law enforcement, and she was always available during that time. So we already have a working experience with her in the coroner’s office, so that ground has been broken already and she is familiar with our operation and we are familiar with what she needed.”

Dr. Fitton did not return multiple calls and emails from the Record-Herald requesting an interview.

The sheriff also explained a few of the coroner’s duties in the community.

“The coroner’s role is basically to determine if someone who dies died from a natural death or an unnatural death,” Stanforth said. “And through their investigation they can determine if it is a natural death and if it was or wasn’t a supervised death (when the death is witnessed by a healthcare professional). So if the coroner has any questions or issues with that they can order an investigation and petition for an autopsy. If the person dies without being supervised the coroner is obligated to figure out how that person died. They have several avenues to do that, and that is what Dr. Fitton would do. She would bring in her expertise and look at the person’s situation who died and determine if it’s a natural death and if it wasn’t, then she can try to find out what caused the death. It doesn’t take a medical license to determine if a person is dead, but it has to be a doctor — in this case the coroner — would come in and examine the body to say they are deceased and ask for a deeper look into the cause. It is not an easy task and a coroner needs to be able to peel back those layers and figure out what exactly happened.”

Overall though, Stanforth said he is ready to see what her standards are and will be ready to follow them. He said that even though the coroner position has a set of statutes to follow, they also have the flexibility of the office to address those statutes.

According to her Facebook page, Dr. Fitton is the owner and pediatrician at ABC Pediatrics in Washington Court House and has a medical degree from the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Ohio State University.

“We are looking forward to her and it’ll be an opportunity to get a different perspective on what she sees as the role of Fayette County Coroner,” Stanforth said.

Reach Martin Graham on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.


By Martin Graham