Do you think it would be a good idea to post mort... - ICUsteps

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Do you think it would be a good idea to post mortem on my Father?

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I went to collect my father death cert today and it said he died of pneumonia with multiple organ failer

but i belive he could have a urinary tract infection before going into hospital and picked up the pneumonia from in there which led to septis shock, the septis shock by the way is not on the death cert even though that's what the doctor told me he died off

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A post mortem happens when cause of death is uncertain. It seems your Dad had infection that caused sepsis and his organs failed. It is a hard time for you.

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That's a understatment! I believe you are right but i have to be sure about this urinary tract infection and to make sure it was sepsis that killed him, in other words i just dont trust doctors!


I was in the very same predicament a few days back - autopsy or not.

In my mother's case, her gp and the emergency room doctor knew exactly what was going on - the ER doctor simply failed to render the appropriate medical treatment.

There are 3 sections on a South African death certificate under cause of death.

For my mother:

1) immediate cause (final disease or condition) : Abdominal sepsis

2) conditions leading to immediate cause: Septic shock

3) underlying cause: Abdominal obstruction / perforation

I felt like scratching it all out and writing "I never bothered to attend to the patient"

So in my mother's case an autopsy would not have revealed much more than already obvious.

Also, given what she has been through over the past 3 years, I was reluctant to subject her body to anything further.

In your father's case, I suspect:

1) immediate cause (final disease or condition): pneumonia / systemic organ failure

2) conditions leading to immediate cause: septic shock

3) underlying cause: bacterial infection.

Perhaps consider speaking to the pathologist who would have analyzed blood samples .

Infection markers would be present with sepsis.

The question would be the type of pneumonia - what was its origin ?

Pneumonia as a result of bacterial infection is typical of pneumonia acquired in a hospital environment.

Pneumonia as a result of viral infection, is typical of pneumonia acquired outside a hospital (person to person infection).

Pathology results should be able to identify either bacterial or viral infection

Pathology results from either autopsy or regular path lab will reveal the same thing - bacterial or viral infection.

Keep in mind I'm neither a doctor nor pathologist.

The above is based on my experience when my mother was kept in an isolation ward for 4 months during 2017, while the doctors battled infection (completely unrelated to the circumstances surrounding her recent death).

Blood tests were done every 48 hours. Her critical care physician would always show me the results and explain to me what they meant & what was going on at the time.

Like my mother, I'm uncertain whether an autopsy will actually reveal anything not already known.

Likewise, the main question would be: was your father rendered the appropriate medical care on diagnosis of his condition.

**like me, you're on an emotional roller coaster right now.

It was my mother's funeral today, along with the grief came anger and extreme bitterness as a result of the hospital.

Driving back home I suddenly landed up in a "road rage" incident.

The actual cause was not due to fault on my part, but my reaction was excessive.

Nobody physically injured, but I caused significant damage to the other vehicle.

It was highly entertaining to onlookers, even receiving cheering and applause.

I'm now expecting the police to come knocking on my door !!

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Bless you as always Grant_za for your advice! Well it said on the death cert community acquired pneumonia, which it very could have been however i am wondering if urinary tract infection was the start of it? as a lot of the signs were there now that i been looking online. The doctor called later this afternoon, who knew about my father case but said we have not met before i believe we have and she was only bluffing but i can not prove that. Anyhow she said i hear you want a post mortem but i can answers any questions for you, i told her it's no good telling me on the phone i want it in print otherwise it's hearsay. I told her about the complaint i made and why asked her why 82 years old man had to wait 9 days before going into ICT! She could not give me the answer

I didnt really want a post mortem on my father but now with all the lies from these doctors i have no choice and as he getting cremated we never have a chance of doing it later

PS Becarful with the road rage although i know how you feel! and the police will be to scared to knock on your door


If you want a post mortem you need to inform the undertakers asap.

The death certificate would only have been issued under "natural causes".

If the application for the death certificate did not state "natural causes" it would not be released until a post mortem had been carried out, and cause of death established.

The death certificate allows the undertakers to proceed with burial / cremation.


My grandad had a post mortem because of his previous involvement with asbestos. I personally hated that it went ahead as he was 89 and I wanted him sat peace. Which country are you in? They will only undertake a PM in the UK if the death can be described as unnatural or violent.

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in reply to VickyC1982

Or unexplained - my mother suffered a ruptured aortic aneurysm & died at home alone. It was so catastrophic she would have known nothing about it. Because she died alone, she was autopsied. It took a month to have her body.

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In the UK at St Georges Hospital. I believe i can request one and as i have lost all faith with some of the doctors i had to deal with, i think i have make sure he died like they said he did.


Grief affects people in different ways. I know, i still haven't grieved properly over the death of my younger sister back in 2002 when she and her boyfriend were hit head on by a lorry who's driver fell asleep at the wheel. All of them died. I was hurt and angry and you take out my anger on anyone I could. I know from reading your other posts you are very angry at what happened to your father. You blame the hospital for his death and are now looking for answers because you do not trust anyone.

My advice to you is if you want answers, you need to hire a lawyer who specialises in medical negligence/malpractice because doing your own searching and looking at numerous medical websites is not going to help you, all it will do it just make your more angry and more untrustworthy towards others. If you believe your father had a different medical problem that was not picked up by the hospital and as a result his stay caused him to contract pneumonia which caused complications resulting in the death of your father then it is something you need to leave specialist lawyers to do the investigating on your behalf. They will be able to get access to medical information that you can't.


Thank you for the advice, i think i will do just that.


So sorry about your Dad. How heartbreaking for you to not only of lost him but to also be conflicted on the cause he died from. Will you always be wandering about it? Will it distress you if you don’t do it? Unfortunately he has died and thank god nothing else can hurt him. This leaves you. I think I would want to know, however we are all different and some would say I don’t want to know.


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