NICHOLAS BERGIN
The Hawk Eye
September 1, 2010

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
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The bodies of poor and indigent people for whom Des Moines County would be required to pick up the bill for burial or cremation will soon be offered up to medical schools to use for educational purposes before being laid to rest at public expense.

During a recent review of state law while helping update the county’s general assistance manual, Senior Assistant County Attorney Amy Beavers turned up an old law, previously unenforced by the county, requiring bodies being buried with taxpayers’ dollars must be offered for use by medical science. Once the college or medical school has finished with the body, it will be properly buried or cremated.

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The only exceptions are for veterans, and if the decedent had a written declaration of what should happen with the body. The funerals of poor and needy veterans are handled through the county’s Veteran Affairs Office, not through general assistance.

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