The Autopsy Report

Since Ethan died, Adam and I had been relying on my little sister (Natasha), who is a pediatrician, to be our go between with the doctors in the emergency room and then with the medical examiner. Every time Adam or I had another idea about what we thought could have happened to Ethan or how could have saved him, we would call Natasha- day or night- and she would reassure us that there was nothing that could have been done.

Then I became worried that maybe Natasha was shielding us from something, so Adam suggested that I call the medical examiner myself as he had done. The medical examiner reassured me that there was nothing that could have been done to save our little boy. After nine and a half months she told us that although she could not find the exact metabolic disorder, for everyone’s sake she needed to finalize the report. She had never spent so much time on an autopsy.

For weeks I was nervous to come home. Would today be the day the autopsy report would arrive? The report arrived three weeks later on December 29th. Adam was home on vacation and he came to get me so we could open it together. There was a cover letter and then a snapshot of the summary page of Ethan’s file. It had his name, date of birth, date of death and the cause of death “natural causes” and under the notes section it read “possible metabolic disorder”.

I was under the assumption from the term “report” that it would be more substantial. As a result, I became very upset. I found out that if you want the full report it can be sent to you, but because they know it would be hard for a layperson to understand it, they only send the summary.

I am discovering that the anxiety I feel beforehand is so much worse than the actual experience and the assumptions that I have can lead to disappointment.

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One thought on “The Autopsy Report

  1. I remember receiving my son’s autopsy report, not listing any true cause of death. It was a shock to our system; unanswered questions. Thanks for the honesty and sharing :)

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