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    Suspect Death Due to Medical Error in Pennsylvania? Get an Autopsy

    by | Nov 29, 2021 | Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Law

    When a loved one dies and you suspect a medical error or malpractice, it is always advisable to get an autopsy and contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.

    An autopsy is the only definitive way to confirm and determine the cause of death. Without an autopsy, the wrongdoers may later claim that there was a different cause of death.

    Autopsy requests should first be made to the hospital or medical provider, then to the county coroner. Generally, the coroner of a county has a duty to investigate the facts and circumstances of a patient’s death for the purpose of determining whether an autopsy should be conducted in certain situations, such as:

    • When there is a sudden death not caused by a readily recognizable disease, or if the cause of death cannot be properly certified by a physician on the basis of prior recent medical attendance.
    • When there is a death in which trauma, chemical injury, drug overdose or reaction to a drug or medication, or medical treatment was a primary or secondary, direct or indirect, contributory, aggravating, or precipitating cause of death.
    • A death of an individual whose body is to be cremated, buried at sea or otherwise disposed of so as to be unavailable for examination thereafter.

    Pennsylvania Law – Requesting an Autopsy

    Pennsylvania law gives the coroner discretion to perform an autopsy at the request of a decedent’s family. If the hospital or coroner will not perform an autopsy, then a private autopsy can be obtained.

    Autopsies should be conducted as soon as possible to preserve any potential evidence. A request should be made to the hospital and coroner within 24 hours. Once the body is embalmed, it may be difficult to perform an autopsy. An autopsy cannot be performed once a body is cremated, and it is essentially impossible once the body is buried.

    We Accept Medical Malpractice Cases Against Hospitals in the Philadelphia Area

    Cases Also Accepted Across Pennsylvania

    Philadelphia County

    Chestnut Hill Hospital

    Einstein Medical

    Hahnemann Hospital

    Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

    Jeanes Hospital

    Methodist Hospital

    Pennsylvania Hospital

    Roxborough Memorial Hospital

    Temple University Hospital

    Thomas Jefferson University Hospital

    Delaware County

    Crozer-Chester Medical Center (Upland)

    Delaware County Memorial Hospital (Drexel Hill, Upper Darby)

    Springfield Hospital (Springfield)

    Taylor Hospital (Ridley)

    Montgomery County

    Abington Hospital (Abington, Lansdale)

    Bryn Mawr Hospital (Bryn Mawr)

    Einstein Medical (East Norriton, Elkins Park)

    Holy Redeemer Hospital (Meadowbrook)

    Lankenau Hospital (Wynnewood)

    Suburban Community Hospital (Norristown)

    Children's Hospitals

    Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (Phila., West Chester, East Norriton, Meadowbrook, Doylestown, Langhorne, Sellersville, etc.)

    St. Christopher's Hospital for Children

    Shriner's Hospitals for Children

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