An autopsy may reveal medical malpractice caused death

November 2, 2023 | Crandall & Pera Law
An autopsy may reveal medical malpractice caused death

Losing an Ohio loved one unexpectedly is devastating for anyone. If the person close to you had a medical procedure just prior to their death, you might wonder if medical malpractice is to blame. An autopsy may be able to reveal if this was the case.

Hospital deaths and autopsies

Some patients die in the hospital after an illness or a surgical procedure. However, only 5% of those people undergo an autopsy. Several decades ago, it was standard practice for hospitals to perform autopsies on patients to determine the cause of death. This is no longer the case as hospital officials worry that an autopsy could reveal that medical malpractice has occurred and they can be the target of a lawsuit. If such an examination is not performed, there may be some question about why a patient died. This can make it difficult for the victim’s personal representative to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the family.

What to do if you suspect malpractice

If you suspect that your loved one’s death was caused by a medical error, it might mean that medical malpractice was the culprit. In that situation, you may want to order an autopsy to learn what killed your loved one. Although not all medical errors are considered malpractice, those involving negligence do fall under that category; if the doctor or another medical professional was negligent and caused the death, you have the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.

When seeking an autopsy, it’s wise to avoid seeking one through the hospital. Instead, you will want an independent one performed. A local county medical examiner or coroner should be objective and give you honest answers about the cause of death. However, if this is impossible, it’s still better to have the hospital perform an autopsy than not have one done at all as it gives you the answers you seek.