BOONEVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) -- Mississippi is experiencing a delay in autopsies.
Prentiss County Coroner Greg Sparks said the delay is the result of several autopsy technicians in the State Crime Lab resigning around the start of the month.
He said right now, the office in Pearl has two doctors able to perform autopsies. The office in Biloxi remains closed for now.
“Lack of staff,” Sparks said.
He said normally it may take a few days at most to begin an autopsy, but now it can take up to two weeks. He said he feels for the families who have to deal with such a long wait. Right now, the Pearl office is able to conduct 3 autopsies a day.
Sparks added the resignations have put coroners’ offices in a bind, but he said he can’t blame the staff for why they left.
“I was told they found better jobs,” he said.
A doctor able to perform an autopsy is called a Forensic Pathologist. Sparks said right now, the office in Pearl has two pathologists.
He said the office in Pearl has had to do autopsies for the entire state due to Biloxi having no pathologists.
He said the Biloxi office recently hired a new pathologist, and the hope is it will soon be able to reopen and alleviate the work load placed on the Pearl location.
“They do have some people hired," Sparks said about the Biloxi office. “You can’t just hire somebody and they start back to work the next day, there’s a process to getting people in.”
Sparks said the delay in autopsies will take time to end. Once the offices get new technicians, they have to be trained up.
Sparks said the state has about 1,500 total autopsies per year. He said those are typically split between the two offices.
“They have assured me they’ve got people hired, they’re in the process of getting them in, so maybe in a couple of months, we’ll be back to the old ways.”
Sparks added that right now, doctors are going above and beyond by picking up an even greater workload.