National News

40 days later, mother still waits for son's death certificate

Posted August 25

— A mother is grieving after her son's abrupt passing at just 47 years old. On top of it, she's struggling to get closure, and it's all because she can't get a very important paper.

"He was my beautiful son," said Ann Hendren of Donelson, speaking of her son Philip Davenport. "He was always such a good person with such a strong faith in God. He was always a joy."

While on a hike down Mount Le Conte in Sevier County last month, Hendren said an inherited medical condition took her son's life.

"Coming quickly down may have triggered something he didn't recover from," she said. "He just had a little heart condition."

Grieving her son, Hendren said a problem came up she never expected.

"It's been very traumatic," she said. "I thought we got the worst part behind us. We couldn't get a death certificate. We just couldn't get an answer. We couldn't get a response."

Even though her son's death was July 15, Hendren said she's still waiting.

"I can't access his bank account and get us a little of his money to help us pay for the funeral expenses," she said. "There was nothing prepared for him to die this soon, and we don't have much money."

A rep for Nashville Funeral and Cremation told News 4 they made countless calls and emails to a doctor at the Sevier County Medical Examiner's Office that were mostly ignored. The rep said a staff member there told them weeks ago the certificate would be filed to vital statistics, and they're concerned and frustrated by the delay for the sake of Hendren.

"This is throwing me back in that trauma of when this happened, and I'd like to get this over with," she said. "I keep having to come back to the very Saturday this happened."

A rep for LeConte Medical Center said even though they serve as the Sevier County morgue, they're not affiliated with the staff of the Sevier County Medical Examiner's office that issue and file death certificates. Attempts to reach the Sevier County Medical Examiner's office were not successful by news time.

The rep from Nashville Funeral and Cremation said they've just learned a certificate is at the Sevier County Health Department, and they've sent a check and envelope in hopes of speeding it back soon.


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