Augusta University aiming to address forensic pathologist shortage

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AUGUSTA, GA ( WJBF) — A statewide shortage of forensic pathologists means backlogs on court cases and autopsies.

” Some days we’ll call and we’ll be number 17 in line and some days we’ll call and be number 34 in line. Its a day by day situation,” Mark Bowen said.

Richmond County coroner, Mark Bowen said autopsies must be sent to the GBI in Atlanta .

However, a shortage of pathologists means longer waits for families to get closure following the death of a loved one.

” If more were trained it would help us to maybe get our autopsies done a little faster rather than wait in line to get them done,” Bowen said.

$241,000 thousand dollars in funding is hoping to address that at Augusta University by expanding the pathology program to train more students in forensic pathology.

” We’re able to deal with the shortage here in Georgia by training the doctors in Georgia. Its always easier to stay where you trained. So, we’re hoping to help overcome that shortage,” AU director of Autopsy Dr. Joseph White said.

Bowen said having more pathologists would mean getting autopsies done faster.

” It would help the families and it would help us to be able to get the bodies back to the families a lot quicker so they can go ahead and start the funeral process,” Bowen said.

” Its every parents nightmare or every siblings nightmare to be like where is my family member and to know that something happened to them,” Samantha Mattox said.

For forensic pathology student Samantha Mattox it means getting families the answers they deserve.

” You can provide those answers and you can give that family closure and have a discussion with them so they can close that door and move on,” Mattox said.

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