I called the (800) 343-2135 number Dr. Allen Cusack gave me for MediLegal, the independent pathologists he suggested I contact to perform an autopsy on my mother’s body if the Volusia County Medical Examiner refuses to do so. A woman answered the phone by saying, “Autopsy Experts of America. How may I help you?” 1 (Their website is http://www.autopsyexperts.com/.) I said that I needed an independent toxicology report done on my mother, who passed away recently. She asked me if she could put me on hold for a minute and I said she could.

“Hi. This is Lisa,” someone said after a minute or two. There was a bit of confusion at first because Lisa thought that I was calling to get the status of an autopsy, and then was confused as to whether she had previously talked to me, but eventually she understood why I was calling. “Let’s start from the beginning,” she said.

I gave her the five-minute, quick synopsis of the last week and when I was done she asked me if I was familiar with the costs associated with having an independent autopsy performed. “No. I’m not,” I said.

Lisa said that it really depends on the state and the city, and how far a pathologist would need to travel, but that it was generally between $800 and $1000. She then quickly went into how the process involved drawing blood directly from the heart, and that it usually takes two to four weeks to get the results of blood tests.

She told me that this was, “very standard,” and that she was, “seeing this happen all the time.” 2 She said it was, “very common”. Lisa asked me if she could fax or email me some forms and I told her my email address.

I gave her the web address for the mortuary where my mother’s body is being held — www.jecss.com — and the phone number of address she could use to contact Dr. Allen Cusack, the manager there.

Lisa told me that she would call me back on my cell phone and she would email me the forms.

The entire call lasted thirty-two minutes.

Update: I received a phone call almost immediately after this one, at 6:20 PM EDT, from (619) 216-7573. It was Lisa asking me for the name of the nearest large city. I told her that my mother died in Deland, which was about halfway between Orlando and Daytona Beach, and that I would prefer a pathologist from Orlando. She said that was okay and made sense to her considering that the medical examiner’s office in Volusia County was refusing to do the autopsy.

1 It was a little concerning that Dr. Cusack had the name of the company incorrect, but I supposed they could have changed their name since the last time he had contacted them.
2 where this means elderly patients killed because of incorrect dosages of non-FDA-approved medications