Bills pile up waiting for death report

Tracey Alston lost her brother Allen Kirkland unexpectedly in January
August 2, 2013 2:58:52 PM PDT
Tracey Alston lost her brother Allen Kirkland unexpectedly in January. While an autopsy was done, doctors still could not determine the cause of death. The family had to wait for the toxicology report from the state medical examiner's office.

Alston said she called the office each month wondering if the report was done.

"I called twice a month," she said, but each time was told the report was incomplete. Because it wasn't done, her brother's life insurance company couldn't move forward with payment.

"I gotta get this resolved. I have to pay the funeral home. It was a nightmare! I mean it's literally a nightmare," said Alston.

Alston said she finally got some answers as to why the toxicology report wasn't done.

"She said the pathologist left in April that did the autopsy. He didn't get to it before he left, so it's just been lying on a desk. The person that's been filling in has gone on vacation, so it's still lying on a desk, and I said, 'You know, that's just unacceptable. I can't handle another month of this being open,'" said Alston.

Alston got in touch with me, and a rep with the Department of Health and Human Services told me since the previous doctor working on it left for another job, the report was listed as incomplete.  He said the case was assigned to another doctor who was actively working on the report.  Within days, the report was complete and Alston got it off to the insurance company.

"Filed it with the insurance on Monday, check went out on Thursday," she said. "I just want to thank you for helping me out, I was really just at my wit's end - didn't know which direction to go."

Alston said she's glad she has closure and was finally to pay the outstanding bills.

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