Our firm represents many former and retired industrial workers suffering from lung disease and from a variety of cancers. We are often contacted by families seeking guidance whether to request an autopsy. We understand that the sickness and death of a close family member is a difficult and traumatic time and that the decision whether to ask for an autopsy may be a very emotional one. The family may have moral or religious objections to an autopsy, as well.
In established cases of occupational disease, the decision whether to order an autopsy often turns on a review of the available medical records. Where the patient is being cared for by a physician knowledgeable about the presence of occupational disease and where there is no reason to suspect that death will be caused by any other condition or cause, there is usually no compelling reason to order an autopsy. On the other hand, where occupational disease is merely suspected and has not yet been diagnosed, an autopsy may be critical in proving the case and, without it, there may be no basis to go forward with a claim. If you have a question about the need for an autopsy, you may call us, and one of our attorneys would be glad to review your situation.