Medically Reviewed by DR. SATISH CHUNDRU

There are a lot of reasons why families request a private autopsy. While most of the requests are centered around helping grieving loved ones find answers to questions about the deceased’s death, sometimes there are additional desired outcomes. These include providing information for lawsuits and helping families determine if a hereditary condition that could affect other family members caused their loved one to die.

As a board-certified forensic pathologist who performs private autopsies around the country, Dr. Chundru has seen several different reasons that families request this procedure. Here are 5 of the most common reasons the procedure is requested.

  1. The family suspects medical malpractice led to their loved one’s death.
    In our culture, we tend to think of doctors as healers, who can bring us back to health and good spirits. Unfortunately, sometimes medical mistakes occur that are so serious, they lead to death. When medical malpractice is suspected, surviving family members may decide to litigate. In such cases, a private autopsy can help provide the information needed to make a strong claim against the accused.
  2. The family anticipates filing a lawsuit in response to the death.
    Medical malpractice isn’t the only type of lawsuit that could be brought to court after a death. Sometimes, families suspect a company or its product caused a loved one’s passing, and in response, they decide to bring forth a product liability lawsuit. For families facing this possible scenario, the information gleaned from private autopsies helps them and their legal teams prepare their best case.
  3. There are potential insurance issues that a private autopsy can resolve.
    Some people carry special insurance policies on themselves, such as accidental death or dismemberment insurance, that could financially compensate spouses or other beneficiaries if certain circumstances led to their deaths. In cases like these, having a private autopsy performed helps beneficiaries file insurance claims.
  4. Family members desire a second opinion following a medical examiner’s report.
    While medical examiners are trained physicians, they are human, and they can make mistakes. Additionally, sometimes the data from an autopsy can be interpreted differently when viewed by a second set of eyes. If a family isn’t satisfied with the information provided by an initial autopsy performed by a jurisdiction, they may request a private autopsy take place at a funeral home prior to the deceased being buried or cremated.
  5. There’s reason to suspect the deceased had a genetic condition that could impact living family members.
    A final reason families request this procedure is to receive a posthumous diagnosis of a hereditary condition. While it won’t bring their loved one back, this information can help surviving family members better plan future medical care for themselves.

Contact Dr. Chundru to Learn More

If you’re grieving the recent loss of a loved one, first let us offer our condolences. We know that while friends and family members may be expressing their sympathy and support for you and your family, that ultimately nothing will replace what you’ve lost.

But if you identify with any of the reasons listed above that private autopsies are requested, it’s worth the investment of your time to speak with Dr. Chundru. By sharing the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death, he can estimate the information he may be able to provide about the death if he were to conduct an autopsy. The procedure can be performed in the selected funeral home, and if desired, an open casket viewing may still take place.

To speak with Dr. Chundru about your options, call his practice today at (512) 240-1060.