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When doctors die

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In this Radiolab podcast, doctors are asked how they approach their own advance directives and what life-saving techniques they would want done to themselves. The answers might surprise you. Listen here.


What you should know about exploding caskets

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FCA's own Joshua Slocum explores leaky mausoleums and exploding caskets in this article published today in the Washington Post. More *juicy* details here!


Is Nantucket a bellwether for the funeral industry?

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Update 8/6/14 --- Despite lobbying efforts by funeral home and cemetery industry groups, a bill passed by the Massachusetts legislature will allow Nantucket residents to form a non-profit funeral service on the island. The bill exempts Nantucket from certain laws that would impede their plans, such as requiring a chapel in all funeral establishments. Read about the bill here

The New York Times ran a fascinating story July 13 about the closure of Nantucket Island's only funeral home. This is causing residents logistical problems, as bodies have to be shipped off the island by ferry to a mainland funeral home.

But on Feb. 14, the day of Ms. Davis’s funeral, New England was digging out from a huge snowstorm and bracing for the next. Foul weather forced the cancellation of the ferry that was to bring Ms. Davis home. Her body spent almost a month on the mainland at the funeral home, but suspended in what her daughter called a heartbreaking limbo.

What's interesting to us, though, is how the story highlights two foundational problems in the American funeral industry:

1. The vast oversupply of funeral home relative to the population
2. Anti-competitive hearse-circling from the organized funeral industry

Most people don't realize that the US has almost twice as many funeral homes as it would need to adequately serve the population while providing a good living for the funeral home and staff. In some states there are four to five times as many as needed.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 06 August 2014 15:04 ) Read more...

American Bar Association-funeral regulatory capture

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The journal of the American Bar Association wrote about "regulatory capture" in the funeral industry. That's when the regulated businesspeople themselves gain control over the law regulating them (and we all know what happens then). They interviewed FCA's Josh Slocum for the brief article. 

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 02 September 2014 11:52 )

Morbid Anatomy on display in Brooklyn

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You can get your full of the curious and the macabre at the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn. Founder Joanna Ebenstein notes in a Daily Beast interview:

 “You realize on a visceral level that this [having dead bodies in the parlor] is not a one-off thing, this is an activity people used to do all the time that now seems bizarre to us,” she says. “And it was only 100 years ago, so what has changed about us as a culture that this is unacceptable?”

Read the full story here.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 23 July 2014 16:24 )

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