Family of young mother struggles to get her death certificate signed

Nearly six weeks after a mother of three passed away, her family is struggling to get her death certificate.

A doctor diagnosed Ebonee Abby with COVID-19 at a hospital on October 20. Her husband, Brandon, said she was discharged two days later. But, on October 24, she passed away at home.

She was taken to the hospital to be officially pronounced dead. 

The couple has three children, ages 1, 11, and 15.

Abby said his wife was no stranger to sickness and definitely no stranger to overcoming it.

The 35-year-old was diagnosed with Lupus 10 years ago and had pulmonary fibrosis.

Her family said she never let this get in the way of going after her dreams.

"She's a 16-time self-published author, an entrepreneur. Anything that came to her, she knocked it down," Abby said.

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Sister-in-law Claudette Childs said her death has left a void in their family.

"I think it impacts you a lot differently when you look at the news now and we look at the numbers and know that of that 200,000 plus count, we have a family member who's included," Childs said. 

During a time they should be grieving, the family says they want to know why no one has signed her death certificate.

"It's not just a piece of paper to us as a family. It's more than that," Childs said.

Nearly six weeks have passed since her death, but Abby said no one has signed her death certificate. He's said been bounced from the funeral home to the hospital, to the primary care physician, and then back again.

He claims they're pointing fingers as to who is responsible for signing it.

"Up until last week, I couldn't get her cremated. For over four weeks she was in the funeral home," Abby said. 

This is an issue Albert Johary, a primary care physician in the Atlanta area has seen before.

The question of who is more suited to sign the death certificate.

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Several years ago, he brought this to the attention of the Georgia House of Representatives.

"I was getting requests to fill out death certificates from funeral homes where I wasn't involved in the situation proximal to her death," Dr. Johary said. "My argument was that the ER doctor or the person who pronounced the person is dead should be the one filling out the death certificate."

The death certificate places a role in logistical things, like life insurance and her business. Abby said, however, he wants it signed to bring peace to his wife and her family.

"I'm at peace with everything but one of the biggest things is to put her mother at peace. Her grandmother at peace," Abby said. "She's resting in peace. [I want to signed] just so that she's up there and not worried about her family."

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