Frequently Asked Questions
GPMG by using the contact information below.
time a family suffers the loss of a loved one is perhaps one of
the most shattering events in anyone's experience. It is full
of emotional turmoil, uncertainty and vulnerability. Yet, at this
same difficult time the family is also obliged to rapidly take
the extraordinary measures attendant to arranging for the final
disposition of the one departed.
events surrounding a death are clear and unambiguous. Questions
of how and why are evident and the process moves relatively quickly
to interment. Healing and recovery can begin. Yet, many times
whether the loss is sudden or anticipated, the surviving family
may have feelings of guilt and may have doubts about what has
just happened. Often they are overwhelmed by unfamiliar feelings,
and they are desperately in need of answers to start the process
of closure. It is not uncommon the fear of death and loss of a
patient literally prevents the attending physician(s) and nurse(s)
from communicating with the grieving family, at a time when they
need the comforting and consoling words from those who know and
understand the medical circumstances the best. If no autopsy is
ordered, this can only compound the uncertainty and the grief,
and make every step more difficult and painful while trying to
make decisions concerning the final disposition of their loved
one and settling of affairs.
these circumstances, there is recourse for the family. An independent
autopsy will provide the cause and manner of death, and answers
to the surviving family's questions of why. GPMG provides physicians
who care, and who will speak to the survivors with care and compassion,
and this alone can provide a great deal of relief and comfort.
The autopsy findings will provide the answers needed to clarify
unsettling questions and bring about an understanding of the full
circumstances surrounding the death. Informed decisions can then
be made, and as the remaining questions resolve, family members
are more easily able to let go and begin to look to the future
unresolved question a family has about their loss, GPMG has the
professional expertise and commitment to help them find the answers
they want and the closure they need. For more information, contact
GPMG directly by using the contact information below.
is a professional group of pathologists offering a complete range
of pathology services. All cases are administered directly by
GPMG and each is given a customer service contact who is on call
to keep you informed of progress, findings and other details,
anytime day or night. Our full range of services to include the
Autopsies. When the family desires a fully independent examination
of the cause and manner of death GPMG professionals are ready
to assist you. This procedure will answer questions concerning
acquired and inherited diseases, so as to assist the family in
finding closure for the loss of their loved one, and to assist
the surviving family members with their own healthcare maintenance.
The family will receive a comprehensive written report including
gross and microscopic examination.
Autopsies. Fully independent autopsies providing the cause
and manner of death with medical- legal consultation to families
and attorneys, forensic photography, preservation of toxicology
samples and appropriate medical record review. This includes a
comprehensive report with a gross and microscopic examination,
and in addition, the report will assist the family in finding
closure for the loss of their loved one and will answer questions
concerning acquired and inherited diseases.
Autopsies. A complete Private or Forensic Autopsy providing
cause and manner of death.
Observer Autopsies. GPMG professionals are often asked to
represent the interests of the family when the Coroner or Medical
Examiner has ordered an autopsy on their loved one. A GPMG physician
will attend and observe the Coroner/Medical Examiner autopsy and
then prepare an independent comprehensive report to include gross
and microscopic examination.
When the Coroner/Medical Examiner has already performed an
autopsy, or an autopsy has been performed in a hospital, families
often seek a re-examination or re-autopsy to ensure an independent
opinion. GPMG professionals are ready to provide this service
with an independent comprehensive autopsy report to include gross
and microscopic examination.
Services. Testing of blood, urine, body fluids or tissues
for illicit and prescription drugs in determining the cause and
manner of death.
Services. Post-mortem neurological examination of the central
and peripheral nervous system for diagnosis and confirmation of
such diseases as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis,
etc., by a Board Certified Neuropathologist.
Counseling. Counseling families regarding inheritable diseased
Report and Medical Record Review. Providing medical opinion
on standard of care, correct diagnosis, adequacy of care, and
cause and manner of death. GPMG has qualified clinical experts
with forensic experience to provide opinions on the standard of
care and correlate the clinical and autopsy findings.
Malpractice / Wrongful Death Investigation. GPMG fact-finding
research can help determine if cause and manner of death circumstances
suggest possible medical malpractice. We can do a complete autopsy
for your client or review the autopsy results if an autopsy has
already been done by the hospital or Medical Examiner/coroner.
Scene Investigation. Expert independent investigations are
conducted to answer the most important questions. GPMG has experienced,
seasoned private investigators who are ready to assist when needed.
Medical Opinion Services. GPMG pathologists are experts in
deposition and trial testimony for both civil and criminal cases,
having extensive experience in each.
Case Management and Final Outcome. GPMG assigns a manager
to follow your case from beginning to end. The case manager will
ensure the autopsy findings are fully explained and all questions
pathologists are board certified in Anatomic, Clinical, Forensic
and Neuropathology, with consultants available in Hemopathology,
Pulmonary Pathology, Liver Pathology, Cardiovascular Pathology
and Pediatric Pathology. We are also leaders in the development
and use of computer and video imaging technologies for pathological
and other medical purposes.
here for a full resume on the GPMG professional staff.
is an autopsy?
An autopsy is a surgical procedure that entails an invasive examination
in order to determine the cause and manner of death.
provides an autopsy, and who is most qualified to perform an autopsy?
Board Certified Pathologists are the most fully qualified experts
for providing autopsy services. They are specially trained to
recognize the anatomic biochemical changes brought about by disease.
GPMG patholgists board certified?
Yes, GPMG pathologists are board certified in anatomic, clinical,
forensic and neuropathology. All are fully qualified and experienced
in court testimony.
anyone request an autopsy?
Any family member or close friend of the deceased can ask for
an autopsy, but the autopsy must be properly authorized.
can authorize an autopsy?
Only the legal next of kin or individual (family member or non-family
member) with durable power of attorney can authorize an autopsy.
is considered the legal next of kin?
The legal next of kin would be one of the following: parent of
a minor child, surviving spouse, oldest adult child (if both parents
deceased or divorced), and oldest adult sibling (if both parents
the pathologist providing the autopsy responsible for signing
the death certificate?
No, the attending physician who provided medical services
prior to the person's death is responsible for signing the death
certificate. In the event the attending physician doesn't sign
the death certificate, then the coroner or medical examiner takes
does the local jurisdiction order an autopsy?
The Coroner or Medical Examiner deals with cases of sudden, unexpected,
violent or traumatic death. The Coroner or Medical Examiner also
makes the decision on what type of cases involving a natural death
may be placed under their jurisdiction for further investigation.
If the deceased has a significant well-documented medical history,
the Coroner or Medical Examiner will usually release the case
and not perform an autopsy. Each jurisdiction has its own guidelines
and these guidelines vary significantly.
are private autopsies performed?
Autopsy services are performed in a space designated by the funeral
director providing services for the family (preparation room,
autopsy suite/morgue). We also provide an off-site laboratory-morgue
facility if needed.
an autopsy affect funeral arrangements?
No, there is no change in the appearance of the body following
the autopsy. Working with your funeral director, GPMG will attempt
to schedule the autopsy so as not to affect funeral arrangements.
performs the autopsy?
A GPMG Board certified Forensic pathologist conducts and administers
the autopsy from start to finish. GPMG never subcontracts to other
should an autopsy be done?
Coroner and Medical Examiner guidelines must be followed in each
jurisdiction. However, even if not called for by law, an autopsy
is always recommended. Any and all questions related to the death
can be investigated. Even where there were no questions, autopsies
often reveal useful information to help the family better deal
with their loss. An autopsy also forestalls questions that may
arise after burial or cremation, and the autopsy often discloses
vital information, such as the status of inheritable diseases,
that will assist surviving family members with their health care.
We suggest you consult with a GPMG representative who can help
the casket have to be closed because of an autopsy?
Absolutely not! An autopsy is a precision surgical procedure.
The incisions made on the body are not visible when the deceased
is clothed and placed in the casket. GPMG takes every measure
to care and respect the body so as not to create problems for
embalming and viewing by paying meticulous attention to blood
vessel integrity and preservation.
much does an autopsy cost?
Autopsy fees begin at $2,500, and this may include forensic photography;
preservation of toxicology samples; reviewing appropriate medical
records, investigative and police reports; and interfacing with
the family's attorney.
There are additional fees for travel expenses outside of the Los
Angeles area and for specialized services such as toxicology,
neuropathology examination, and specialized diagnostic techniques
and consultations. Contact a GPMG consultant for full details.
should an autopsy be performed?
The autopsy should be performed as soon as possible after death.
When the deceased is refrigerated decomposition is slowed and
a brief delay of several days usually will not interfere with
the autopsy results.
an autopsy be performed if the body has been embalmed?
Absolutely! The autopsy should be performed on an unembalmed
body for the best outcome; however, if there will be a long delay
(beyond one week) between death and the autopsy, then embalming
is recommended. Embalming preserves the body tissues, but be aware
that it does interfere with many of the toxicology studies.
soon after an autopsy is the report ready?
Verbal preliminary findings are given to the authorizing family
member or individual within 24 to 48 hours following completion
of the autopsy. A full written report is usually completed and
mailed in 4 to 6 weeks. If there are special procedures requested
such as toxicology, neuropathology etc; the written report may
take up to 12 weeks. GPMG personnel will go over the report with
the requesting party and answer any questions.
Medical Group, Inc
David M. Posey, MD
2222 Foothill Blvd.
La Cañada, CA 91011
Tel: (800) 620-4644
Fax: (818) 249-1941
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Glenoaks Pathology Medical Group, All Rights Reserved.