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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
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is it the law in Iowa to have an autopsy performed after a

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is it the law in Iowa to have an autopsy performed after a death?
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

According to Iowa's 331.802 Code, an autopsy must be performed to answer medicolegal questions that are deemed in the “public’s interest” or to address a question of law. The entity that makes this decision is the local office of the State Medical Examiner, and they can override a family's wishes if there is a compelling reason (i.e. suspicion of foul play, etc).

As such, the State Medical Examiner makes the decision whether or not to have an autopsy.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

My sister passed away this am. She was only 49. If her husband says no autopsy can we, her family, request one anyway to rule out fowl play? Her husband has threatened her (so she says) but she has also been a heavy drinker this past year. We just want to know for our own piece of mind. Thank you!!


 

L,

I am very sorry for your family's loss.

If her husband says no autopsy can we, her family, request one anyway to rule out fowl play?

Yes. First of all, as explained, it is not his call to make, but that of the State Medical Examiner (i.e. coroner). So they make this decision, not he. You can request (or confirm) that an autopsy be performed by contacting the county's coroner. See here.

They make this decision, and if you state "we think there was foul play," they generally will do this.

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