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August 13, 23

NEWS / West Virginia Health Secretary questioned by lawmakers over death certificate delays outlined in TikTok video

West Virginia lawmakers questioned the state’s new Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources, Dr. Sherri Young, over average wait times of 200-250 days in the issuance of death certificates.

According to TikToker Jenny Berger from Tennessee, she has been waiting for her husband’s cause of death for almost two years.

In a video that Berger called “WidowTok Wednesday", Berger complained that it took her a year to get her husband’s death certificate and another year to get the autopsy report.

“West Virginia, if you see this, I would love to know what happened to my husband,” Berger stated in the video.

By West Virginia law, death certificates are supposed to be filed within five days after death. Berger claims that the paperwork was finished after three days, but it took her a year to actually receive the certificate. Berger noted that the delay resulted in her getting locked out of their joint bank account.

Secretary Young noted that the state was supposed to have 12 medical examiners, but only had 3. The problem is compounded by the fact that there are simply not enough people with the relevant education to staff the medical examiner’s office. According to Young, only 17 people graduate with a forensic pathology degree every year in the entire country.

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources sent a statement to Eyewitness News in which they confirmed that autopsies themselves are typically completed in under 72 hours, but autopsy reports take an average of 240 days.

A&M Logos International always tries to find the quickest way for retrieving vital records. As a rule of thumb, we try to get those records from local, rather than state governments, as this is typically a faster process. Call us today at (212) 233-7061 or e-mail us at info@apostille.us to discuss the particulars of your case. You may also wish to check out our website.



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