A severe autopsy backlog in North Carolina has added to the financial and emotional burdens of grieving families, a Charlotte Observer and News & Observer investigation revealed.
Here are three takeaways from Burdened after Death:
When people in North Carolina die unexpectedly, required medical investigations usually take more than 20 weeks. In nearly 1,400 cases since 2020, they took more than a year.
That crisis heaps more burdens on grieving family members during one of the worst periods of their lives. Some can’t touch funds they are entitled to inherit, leaving their biggest bills unpaid. Many must wait months for the answer to a burning question: Why did their loved one die?
The system is bogged down chiefly because there are too many bodies and too few pathologists and toxicologists to handle the load.