“Rather than go outside and try to find new people,” he added of why Gossett was moved up in the ranks, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”
Gossett has also assisted in introducing Godbey to personnel at the state medical examiner’s office, a crucial relationship for any Kentucky county coroner, and much of the forms and paperwork Gossett encounters.
It’s those kinds of details that have provided the trickiest challenges for Godbey to overcome in his new role. Though he has plenty of medical experience, with 30 years in emergency services, the specific demands of the coroner’s job have been new to Godbey.
“(The coroner’s office staff) has helped me out a lot as far as doing investigation work,” he said. “I usually never had to go farther than the hospital or doctor’s office. Now we have to track down people.”
It was a task fresh on Godbey’s mind as he spoke. He had worked his first fatal car accident as county coroner on Friday, and was busy trying to locate and notify the victim’s next of kin. It was the seventh death overall that he’d handled since taking over.
Also different: the knowledge that, as coroner, Godbey can’t do anything to save the life of the victims he’s attending to — a drastic change from his days with EMS, where the goal was to save lives.
“It’s a whole different feeling when I go in,” he said. “I feel strange. I don’t have anything to do that will change the outcome. I have the most trouble getting used to that.”
Godbey, a Science Hill resident and Baptist minister, has also taught EMT classes and helped provide emergency services in Casey County following his retirement. He still needs to undergo some additional training for the coroner’s job — he’ll be doing so in the next month, a once-a-year course focused on crime scene investigation — but he’s getting the hang of things.