Why was an autopsy not performed on my loved one?

  • 8 August 2023

Often people have loved ones who pass away, and they do not understand why an autopsy wasn’t performed. The primary reason is that it did not fall under the medical examiner’s jurisdiction, meaning that it was an apparent natural death with an attending physician to sign the death certificate. Sometimes, however, despite this, family members feel that a death is suspicious in nature and an autopsy should have been done. For such people, bear in mind that the death was thoroughly investigated by local law enforcement, or the medical examiner investigator and no suspicion was found. All of the circumstances related to death indicate that the death was indeed natural and therefore, falls upon the attending physician to sign the death certificate. Keep in mind that hearsay or “gut feelings” do not make evidence of suspicion. There needs to be some physical or sustentative evidence to support suspicious claims. Furthermore, the Medical Examiner’s Office will not become involved in a non-Medical Examiner case unless Law Enforcement or the State Attorney’s Office agrees that it should. If you would like an autopsy to be performed on your loved one and the Medical Examiner’s Office does not do one, the legal next of kin has the right to hire a private pathologist to perform any examinations the family wishes.