Health care has absorbed the blows of budget cuts across the nation. While some states have fared better than others, most are mindful of the impact these decisions may have on our health. Few are aware that the impact has also been felt, sort of, by the recently deceased.
Medical examiner and coroner offices, many underfunded, have just stopped performing autopsies in some categories of deaths. Some states no longer perform autopsies after a suicide, while others refrain from post mortem intervention after a car accident. Many have stopped the practice on individuals over the age of 40 (with certain exceptions in the event of an obvious violent death), and Oklahoma has lowered the age limit to 40.
This has led to an investigation by NPR, PBS Frontline and ProPublica as they found concerns among law enforcement and health care professionals over a disturbing trend. Far too many assume the elderly die only of natural causes. Is there an epidemic of “gray homicides” spreading across the nation? See the entire article on NPR.org.