Our Michigan nursing home lawyers represent families of residents who died to neglect and abuse in skilled nursing homes and assisted living facilities throughout the State of Michigan. Quite often, the reasons behind the death of the resident are either unknown or simply unreported. Families who want to know the truth about why a resident died at a nursing home often hire a medical examiner to perform their own private autopsy. The main purpose is to determine the most likely cause of death, the major contributing factors to the death, and whether it was a natural or accidental death.
When family members believe that a nursing home neglect or abuse was a cause of the resident’s death, it is often wise to request an autopsy with a private pathologist, coroner, or medical examiner. This is due to a concern of a “cover up” to prevent the family from knowing the real truth behind the cause of death. Nursing homes are notorious for not documenting accidents that occur to residents, such as a fall from bed or a wheelchair.
For example, a nursing home may not report that a resident fell out of bed and struck his or her head on the floor, and only tell a family that the patient never woke up from sleep. An autopsy can identify evidence of trauma and findings of a brain bleed consistent with a fall. This evidence can later be used in a nursing home neglect lawsuit to seek damages under the Michigan Wrongful Death Statute.
Many times, a hospital will not perform an autopsy or refer a nursing home resident to the county medical examiner for an autopsy because it assumes that the resident’s death was due to an age-related condition. Often, it is only the instincts and suspicions of the resident’s family that leads an investigation into the real truth behind the death. An autopsy can help the family prove this fact and also assist the nursing home lawyer in pursuing the case.
Making the decision to have a private autopsy performed can be a difficult one for the family. If your family member died and you believe that the death was caused by abuse or neglect in a Michigan nursing home, you should contact our nursing home neglect lawyers immediately to discuss whether a private autopsy is necessary should your family decide to pursue a lawsuit. Call us now at (800) 606-1717 and we will answer all of your questions.