Families Are Forced to Wait on Death Certificates

Steve Martin is used to grief, but the president-elect of the Texas Funeral Directors Association admits that the pre-dawn phone calls still get to him. A grieving widow who’s had her lights turned off. Or can’t get into her late husband’s bank account. Or can't collect on an insurance policy.

Such desperation can add to the overwhelming grief of losing a loved one, and nothing more than a simple bureaucratic snafu is to blame: the failure of doctors to process death certificates in a timely manner. The certificates are required for all manner of basic tasks involved in disentangling ...

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