Staff Shortage Causes Autopsy Backlog

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A staffing shortage at a Wichita center that performs autopsies for dozens of Kansas counties has caused a backlog that in some cases has delayed death certificates that are required before survivors can collect life insurance.

Officials at the Sedgwick County Regional Forensic Science Center say it's not realistic to expect a death certificate in a few weeks.

But Jaime Oeberst, district coroner and Sedgwick County's chief medical examiner, said staffing issues are causing the backlog.

After the previous coroner left last year, Oeberst was the only full-time doctor. A part-time doctor helped out, but Oeberst wasn't able to hire a deputy coroner until August. The County Commission recently approved funding for a third doctor who will start in July.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)