Family Requests Autopsy After Sudden Death Raises Questions

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After losing their mother suddenly, the surviving family members of a 53-year-old Pennsylvania resident had a lot of questions about how she died. The month before the patient died, she was dancing at a wedding and seemed to be in good health. Two weeks later, she was in the hospital, where she remained for approximately a month until she died. The surviving family members requested an autopsy to determine whether her death was the result of negligence.

Autopsies play an extremely important role in medical malpractice lawsuits because they provide detailed information about the cause of death. When requesting the autopsy for their mother, the family felt that it would be a serious conflict of interest if the individual who treated their mother was the same individual who conducted the autopsy. The family was also concerned that a medical mistake may have contributed to their mother’s death, and they were concerned that the hospital would try to cover it up.

Family Members Can Request Autopsies

Fortunately for the family, anyone can request an autopsy, but it is up to them to ensure that it gets done. Depending on who conducts the autopsy, they can range in price up to $6,000. Teaching hospitals generally conduct autopsies at no cost to the family. Some private hospitals may provide autopsies at no cost, depending on the circumstances. Other times, private hospitals will work with academic medical institutions, or other third-party organizations to conduct an autopsy. Regardless of who is conducting the autopsy, it must be requested by a physician or family member or be ordered by a coroner.

Legally, autopsies are only required under certain circumstances, including if there is suspicion of foul play or if there is a concern that the death was caused by an infectious disease, which could have an impact on public health. An autopsy may also be ordered if someone dies, but they were not under the care of a medical professional. In this case, the deceased’s official cause of death was listed as acute liver failure from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. However, the family commented that they still have questions that remain unanswered. When she was initially hospitalized, there were tests that doctors should have done, which did not happen. The family believes that the mistakes made early on in her treatment contributed to her rapid decline.

Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Justice for Victims of Medical Negligence

If you lost a loved one and you believe that negligence was involved, contact the Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. It is well within your rights to order an autopsy for the deceased, and we will address all your questions and concerns related to that process. Our dedicated team will walk you through the claims process and ensure that your legal rights are protected. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, allowing us to represent victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.