DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Some Iowa families have been unable for weeks to bury loved ones who have died because of a backlog of autopsies at the Iowa state medical examiner’s office.
Television station KCCI reports that the office is backlogged at least two weeks, and 47 families are currently waiting for autopsies.
The Iowa Department of Human Services blames a lack of specialized pathologists, retirements at the county level, and a 25% increase in autopsies in the last year for the backlog.
Christy Smith, of Urbandale, says she's been waiting 17 days for the state to perform an autopsy on her 21-year-old daughter, Madeline Wise, to determine how she died on Aug. 11. The waiting, she says, “is horrific.”