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Demand breathes life into private-autopsy companies

Demand for private autopsies has been increasing over the past three decades due to a gradual decline in the number of U.S. hospitals that perform the procedure because of budget cuts, says Gregory Davis, professor of pathology at the University of Kentucky. Just 2% of U.S. hospitals conduct autopsies today, down from 42% in 1965, he says.

Meanwhile, owners of private autopsy companies say they get steady business from small county governments that don't employ medical examiners, as well as overburdened large ones.

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