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Autopsy Backlog at State Medical Examiner’s Office Forces Delay in Funeral Services

Funeral home.

ANKENY, Iowa – The State Medical Examiner’s Office is dealing with a backlog in performing autopsies and that’s causing a delay in holding funeral services.

Iowa funeral home directors say families are having to wait as many as 10 days following a death, before they are able to plan services.

“For us to talk to a family that just lost a loved one-to let them know that it could be a week to 10 days before we even plan anything, because we can’t plan anything until we know. It’s very uncomfortable but we have to be honest with the families, and most of them understand but I tell you when you just lost somebody, a minute seems like a day,” says Steven Corson, co-owner of Kaiser-Corson Funeral Homes.

The backlog is due to a surge in cases that need to be handled by the Medical Examiner’s Office along with a staff shortage. The office normally has four pathologists but is currently down to three.