Saturday, September 12, 2020

Private autopsies are on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic

More Americans are relying on costly companies to examine their deceased loved ones due in part to a longstanding shortage of public practitioners.

Vidal Herrera, owner of the company 1-800-AUTOPSY in East Los Angeles.

By Carrie Arnold
Photographs by Craig Cutler
National Geographic

Even before the pandemic, the autopsy rate in the U.S. had been in decline. Now, infection control guidelines, increased caseloads, and fewer pathologists who are comfortable performing the task have created an autopsy shortage. Vidal Herrera, owner of the company 1-800-AUTOPSY in East Los Angeles, says that public officials such as coroners and medical examiners can be so overwhelmed by the COVID-19 death toll that they’re sometimes giving non-COVID fatalities what is called a “predictable cause of death” rather than requesting an autopsy.  Read more >>