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June 12, 24

NEWS / Delays in Death Certificate Processing Compound Family's Grief and Financial Strain

The issuance of a death certificate, a seemingly routine administrative task, has become a prolonged ordeal for the family of Jimmy Ho, who tragically passed away from a heart attack on March 18. The absence of this crucial document has not only intensified their grief but has also placed a significant financial burden on his loved ones.

Angela Ho Beane, daughter of the deceased, expressed her frustration, stating, "Just because my dad passed doesn't mean the bills stop without closing this chapter and finalizing these things I feel like I can't move on." The delay in obtaining the death certificate stems from a BioFire Swab test required by the Fort Bend County Medical Examiner's Office to screen for COVID-19, a procedure essential for accessing FEMA benefits.

Tami Frazier, spokesperson for the Fort Bend County Judge, shed light on the situation, explaining, as quoted by Fox 26 Houston, "The delay is due to a BioFire Swab. That swab tests for COVID which, if present, can lead to FEMA benefits." Frazier reassured that steps are being taken to expedite the process, with the office awaiting the signing of a contract with a new lab to conduct the necessary tests.

Despite assurances from officials, Ho Beane's distress is palpable, especially upon learning that her father's case is not an isolated one. "Is my dad the only one in this situation?" she questioned, revealing that there are over 30 other samples facing similar delays. The uncertainty surrounding the timeline for receiving the death certificate exacerbates the emotional and financial strain on grieving families.

In response to the predicament, the Medical Examiner's Office has offered a temporary solution by providing Ho Beane with a letter to facilitate her mother's access to some benefits. However, the lack of a finalized death certificate continues to hinder the family's ability to navigate the aftermath of their loss comprehensively.



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