When a local Medical Examiner’s office decides not to perform an autopsy following a person’s death, that decision may leave the family with questions about the passing of their loved one. In these cases, families can have a Forensic Pathologist conduct a private autopsy.
Dr. Satish Chundru is a Board Certified specialist in Forensic Pathology with nearly 15 years of experience. Clients from around the United States rely on him for private autopsy services based on his expertise and comprehensive, compassionate approach. Before entering private practice, he spent a decade with the Chief Medical Examiner’s office in Travis County, Texas, and he has performed more than 5,000 procedures over the course of his career.
Families that choose Dr. Chundru can trust in the privacy and sensitivity of his services. He is a dedicated and personable professional who understands the care that circumstances require, and his methodology helps provide timely answers to his clients’ concerns.
Choosing to Perform a Private Autopsy
A private autopsy is a common but important process that families may decide to pursue for many different reasons. Closure tends to be at the heart of the decision. When loved ones pass, and families don’t have answers to the reasons for their death, a private autopsy is sometimes the only way for families to move on emotionally.
There are other reasons that clients may have for seeking help:
- Medical malpractice. Families may have concerns about whether their loved one received proper care while in the hospital.
- Insurance issues. In some cases, families are due additional compensation when the death of a loved one is the result of an accident, and a private autopsy can determine whether this was the case.
- Lawsuits. Families may be considering a lawsuit against organizations and businesses, the products or services of which may have contributed to the death of their loved one.
- Second Opinion. An examination can provide clarity if the next of kin is not satisfied with the diagnosis from the hospital or Medical Examiner’s office.
- Health risks. The findings of an autopsy may identify an illness that represents a health risk to other family members.
Dr. Chundru can support each of these concerns and encourages clients to contact him to discuss their questions.
What Clients Can Expect with a Private Autopsy
Dr. Chundru can directly support the family of a loved one who has passed, or, if the family prefers, its legal counsel can serve as the point of contact. Once the local medical examiner’s office has decided not to perform an autopsy — technically, once it “denies jurisdiction” — clients may choose to reach out to Dr. Chundru for assistance.
During a consultation, Dr. Chundru will:
- Respond to questions that the client may have. Often, this means explaining which issues a private autopsy can and cannot resolve.
- Help clients determine what they want to learn from the autopsy.
- Schedule the examination. Dr. Chundru can travel anywhere in the country to perform an autopsy. If a client is local to Central Texas, he may be able to provide the service on the same day as the consultation.
Dr. Chundru will typically conduct a private autopsy at the funeral home, which can make the necessary arrangements. The specific approach that he will use depends on the questions that the client wishes to answer. Generally, the examination also includes preparing samples for lab analysis.
After a private autopsy, Dr. Chundru will let the client know that the process is complete and that the funeral home can assist with funeral arrangements. In the days that follow, Dr. Chundru will review the prepared samples from the lab as well as toxicology and histology reports. Based on the examination, analysis of the samples, and a review of other relevant records, Dr. Chundru will prepare his final report for the client.
Important Questions About a Private Autopsy
Will an open casket funeral still be possible?
Yes, a private autopsy will not affect the possibility of an open casket funeral. The private autopsy process leaves no visible signs that would affect a viewing.
Are clients involved in the autopsy?
Dr. Chundru conducts the procedure in a private setting and informs clients when the process is complete.
How long will the private autopsy and report take?
In general, Dr. Chundru spends 1.5 hours conducting his examination. Straight forward cases typically have a much quicker turnaround time compared to those which are more complex. Dr. Chundru’s efficiency as a private practitioner allows him to produce his reports in a timely manner, as all cases vary depending on the testing and information that each client needs to receive.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an autopsy?
An autopsy is a postmortem examination to discover the cause of death or the extent of disease in an individual. A thorough autopsy includes the examination of the body, both externally and within the chest and abdominal cavity and skull. For individuals who do not require a full forensic autopsy, Dr. Chundru will focus on only the pertinent areas of the body during the autopsy.
Why would I need to have a private autopsy completed?
Families from all over the country seek out Dr. Chundru for his expertise in forensic pathology. When a loved one dies, and their death is not classified to be within the jurisdiction of the local office of the medical examiner, the family may choose to have a private autopsy completed if they have unresolved questions surrounding the death of their loved one.
Autopsy findings allow family members to find a degree of closure and peace. Sometimes, Dr. Chundru even finds evidence of a hereditary disease or condition that surviving family members should be aware of. Autopsy findings also aid family members as they deal with insurance and lawsuits.
Is Dr. Chundru board-certified?
Yes, Dr. Chundru is a board-certified forensic pathologist and has almost fifteen years of experience investigating deaths and serious injuries. His private practice supports individuals, families, attorneys, law enforcement, and businesses throughout the United States.
How quickly should a private autopsy be performed after death?
In order to draw the best conclusions, a private autopsy should be completed as quickly as possible after the death of a loved one. This will ensure autopsy results will be accurate and not affected by the changes decomposition causes in the body after death. A brief delay of a few days is acceptable as long as the body remains properly cooled.
Who can legally request a private autopsy?
To request a private autopsy, you must be the legal next of kin of the deceased or a legal representative of the next of kin such as a lawyer or guardian.
Who is considered the “legal next of kin?”
Legal next of kin is considered: (1) parent of a minor child, (2) spouse, (3) oldest adult child, (4) oldest adult sibling. For an adult child to be considered next of kin, both parents must be divorced or deceased. For an adult sibling to be considered next of kin, both parents must be deceased.
Where will the private autopsy be performed?
Dr. Chundru usually conducts private autopsies at the funeral home chosen by the deceased or surviving family members. He will work with the funeral home to make the necessary arrangements for the autopsy.
Will the private autopsy help prove medical malpractice?
Yes. If family members believe that their loved one’s death was the result of medical malpractice, Dr. Chundru can help make that determination during his autopsy by looking for key clues within the body.
Will Dr. Chundru sign my loved one’s death certificate?
No. The medical professional who provided medical assistance prior to the death of your loved one will be responsible for signing the death certificate. In the event there was no medical professional present, the local coroner or medical examiner will have jurisdiction and will, therefore, sign the death certificate.
If you are considering a private autopsy for your loved one or if you are an attorney working with a family, contact Dr. Chundru to learn more. Get in touch online or by calling (305) 283-3371.