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The role of autopsies in medical malpractice fatalities

There are a variety of different reactions a grieving person can experience when they learn of the death of a loved one. However, many in Massachusetts want answers. In order to achieve some sense of closure, loved ones often need to understand the cause of their loss, especially if they suspect that it may stem from medical malpractice. In such cases, requesting an autopsy can be helpful.

An autopsy is the study of a deceased person conducted to determine the cause of death. As part of the study, the deceased person's organs, tissues and toxicology are examined. The person conducting the autopsy typically examines the deceased's most recent medical records as well as communicates with treating physicians. Part of the process includes the creation a lengthy document detailing the examination. For those worried about costs, some facilities may not charge for the procedure as it is considered a learning opportunity for medical students and other personnel in training.

For many grieving families, an autopsy is an important way to have questions regarding a person's death answered. Some people report that they have experienced health care personnel who did not seem supportive of the decision to seek an autopsy. However, when explanations regarding a person's death do not make sense, families may need additional information.

While medical malpractice in Massachusetts is relatively rare, there are people suffering from negligence today -- including those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. If such negligence is suspected, an autopsy could be a way to find additional information. Because the average person may not be able to fully recognize when care deviates from the accepted standard, seeking legal counsel may be beneficial.

Source: post-gazette.com, "When in doubt, order an autopsy", Robert J. Pegritz, Jan. 10, 2016

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