Rexene Worrell, M.D.
Reasons Why Families Seek Private Autopsy
Why An Autopsy?
The death of a loved one is the most stressful event that you will endure. The decision to have an autopsy can only be made once. It is important to know what your loved one died from, the exact cause, and only an autopsy will answer those questions.
Is there a disease process that could potentially affect you or other family members?
Knowing that diagnosis and treatment were appropriate is comforting to loved ones.
Are there questions in settling insurance claims and in assigning death benefits?
Finding a specific cause of death may ease the stress of the unknown and facilitate healing.
An autopsy may determine the state of health of your loved one prior to his/her death and whether any medical treatment, procedure, or lack thereof, resulted in or contributed to his/her death. If a loved one dies during a medical procedure, an autopsy is often the only definitive way to prove what happened and support a claim of medical malpractice. Similarly, if your loved one dies after a procedure, an autopsy may determine that the procedure or after care contributed to their death. Sometimes things go wrong. It is important to know how and why. These and many more questions can only be answered with an autopsy.
Many times, a loved one dies suddenly and unexpectedly. In this case, it is often difficult for the family to understand. Based on a review of the circumstances, the coroner’s office will determine whether there was foul play or unnatural causes, but you still are left with questions as to what happened. The autopsy can answer the how and why your loved one died.
HEREDITARY AND HEALTH RISK QUESTIONS
Although many advancements have been made in diagnosing disease and disease processes, the autopsy remains the gold standard in determining the actual cause of death. For example, Alzheimer’s dementia may be suspected or even diagnosed, but only an autopsy can confirm whether it was indeed Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. Similarly, heart disease can run in families and might not be known or diagnosed at the time of death. An autopsy can, and often does, reveal many unknown medical issues that could help guide family members in their future health decisions.
INSURANCE POLICIES/ACCIDENTAL DEATHS
Knowing the precise cause of death can impact insurance policies. Without an autopsy you do not know the true cause of death. For example, if your loved one is believed to have died from mesothelioma, an autopsy may be required for you to collect benefits. Similarly, veterans’ benefits, government programs, and class action lawsuits may need an autopsy to prove you are eligible to be included for benefits. Often, a death may be considered natural by the hospital or a coroner. A complete autopsy examination may reveal that the cause of death is in fact related to an accident, which may significantly impact your benefits. Some insurance companies will require an autopsies if the death benefit is extremely high.
Many of the autopsies are performed to provide a second opinion. If a loved one dies in the custody of law enforcement, or in a county hospital, a second autopsy can be performed to confirm the results. Although, autopsies performed by the county coroner are very complete and are independent from any hospital or law enforcement agencies, many families prefer to have a second opinion.
Las Vegas Autopsy Service
At Las Vegas Autopsy Service, we provide expert forensic and medical examination services including private autopsies, forensic consulting, and expert witness testimony.
Brain Only Autopsy
In Depth Medical Record Review