Delays in death rulings by SF medical examiner

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Golden Gate Bridge with San Francisco skyline (AP Photo)

Golden Gate Bridge with San Francisco skyline (AP Photo)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A shortage of forensic pathologists at San Francisco’s medical examiner’s office is leading to long delays in the release of death certificates with a cause of death.

City data shows more than three-quarters of all pending cases have been awaiting a cause of death for more than three months, violating standards set by the National Association of Medical Examiners.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports short staffing and slow turnaround times led the association to downgrade the accreditation this year of the medical examiner office.

The office is supposed to have four forensic pathologists to perform autopsies and determine a cause of death, but it currently only has one permanent and one temporary pathologist.

Chief Medical Examiner Amy Hart says her office is working to improve staffing and turnaround times.

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