Forensic Pathologist

We can help you find the real cause of death!

1902 Central Drive
Bedford TX, 76021

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Board certified in forensic pathology, consults in medical malpractice, Private Autopsy, Second Autopsy, Independent Autopsy, Wrongful Death, Criminal Defense.

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Please contact us using the contact form above.

We recognize that choosing to perform a private or second autopsy is often a difficult and emotional decision for either individuals or families to make. We want to help ease your decision by providing the information outlined below. 

General Overview of an Autopsy: 
Private autopsy and postmortem investigation services are offered by a board certified forensic pathologist. As an independent medical examiner, the pathologist works on behalf of families of the deceased, whether victims of wrongful death or medical malpractice, or whether the family simply wants to better understand the process that led to the death of their loved one. A private autopsy is a useful option when a hospital autopsy is not practical or if the family wants an independent unbiased opinion as to the cause of death. It is not uncommon for the local coroner to decline a family's request for an autopsy, due to resource limitations or financial constraints.

There are two major types of autopsy:

Gross Anatomy Autopsy - generally performed in a non-surgical operating environment by a visiting or local pathologist. They perform a visual inspection of the major organs, and there is limited tissue or toxicology information gathered. The findings of this type of autopsy are often not sufficiently documented to determine a wrongful death judgement or in sufficient detail to answer all your questions..

Forensic Autopsy - performed by specially trained medical doctors, in a surgical operating environment. All organs systems are thoroughly examined, and tissue samples are examined, for disease processes, as well as tested for drugs, chemicals or toxic substances. These findings are photographically documented, and a detailed findings report is generated.  

What is an autopsy?

A complete autopsy is an external and internal examination of the body after death using surgical techniques. The examination is performed by a pathologist, a medical doctor who is specially trained in this type of procedure and who is able to recognize the effects of disease on the body. The procedure takes about two to four hours to perform. This examination may be comprehensive or limited to a particular area of the body. For example, in the case of a suspected heart attack, some physicians and families request that the autopsy be limited to examination of the chest. However, limiting the scope of the autopsy may reduce its value. We recommend a complete unrestricted autopsy for thoroughness.

The autopsy room is regarded as a special place for gathering medical knowledge. The body is treated with dignity and respect, and the wishes of the family are maintained at all times. Small samples of each organ are taken for microscopic examination to look for disease such as malignancy or infection. Other tests that may be performed include studying genes and checking for drugs, chemicals, or toxic substances. When the examination is completed, a written report is issued. The final report takes several weeks to prepare due to the detailed studies that may be performed. The report becomes a permanent part of the patients medical record. The findings may be discussed with the family physician or with the pathologist. Our pathologist offers a conference call with the family and or designee both after the autopsy and when the toxicology results are completed, in addition to a final written report. The doctor will often request a copy of the deceaseds medical record, in order to verify blood work, and other procedures and or treatments a person has or has not received.

Why perform an autopsy?

The primary purpose of an autopsy is to answer any questions the family or physician may have about the illness, cause of death, and/or any co-existing conditions. Establishing a cause of death can be a source of comfort to families. The autopsy may also determine whether there are inheritable problems and help other family members through early diagnosis and treatment. Furthermore, what is learned through an autopsy on one patient may help save the lives of others with similar conditions.

Who requests an autopsy?

In some cases, the law may mandate that an autopsy be performed. In all other cases, permission is required. Permission to perform the autopsy can be requested either by the patients physician or by the family. In some cases, the patient may have indicated their wish for an autopsy in discussions with the family or by signing a personal directive for autopsy. The autopsy cannot be performed without consent of the legally designated responsible party, usually the next of kin. When giving consent, the family may make any restrictions, limitations, or special requests.

How families benefit from the autopsy

  • Confirming a specific cause of death may simply ease the stress of the unknown.
  • Finding that diagnosis and treatment was appropriate may be comforting to the family.
  • Knowledge that information gained by the autopsy may help someone else to live longer may ease the profound sense of loss experienced by families.
  • Discovering inherited or familial diseases may help families through early diagnosis and treatment, and in family planning.
  • Discovering an infectious disease, for example tuberculosis, may lead to early diagnosis and treatment to help other family members and close contacts.
  • Uncovering evidence of a work-related disease might lead to compensation for the family.
  • Providing crucial information for the settling of insurance claims or death benefits may result in benefits for the family.

    Common concerns about autopsies

    Is there a charge for the autopsy?

    Private forensic pathology medical examiners do charge for this service. While the autopsy may be performed at the funeral home, ideally it should be performed in forensic pathology setting by a specialized pathologist. In some cases, there may be a charge for transportation of the body to and from an autopsy facility. The cost of tranporting your loved one to and from the forensic pathology facility is often less expensive than bringing a pathologist to a funeral home.

    Will the autopsy affect funeral arrangements?

    The performance of an autopsy should not delay a funeral or affect viewing of the body. Funeral directors and pathologists have been working together for many years so that the final arrangements for the body can be made. One common misunderstanding is that a complete autopsy prevents a family from having an open-casket wake/viewing service. This is not true and in fact the pathologists work very closely with your funeral director to insure the viewing of your loved one is not effected by the autopsy procedure. The autopsy in fact will give the family closure about the actual cause of death of their loved one. The forensic autopsy may delay interment 1-2 days while the autopsy is completed.

    Does the pathologist retain any organs?

    The pathologist may retain some organ samples for more detailed examination and research. Families may require that organs be released to the funeral home with the body by giving specific instructions in the written autopsy consent form. However, doing so may limit the value of the autopsy and is not recommended. Remember the whole purpose of the autopsy is to give your family a complete understanding as to why your loved one died.

    Next Steps:

    Please contact us using the contact form above.



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