Insurance Law

Over Body-Freezing Co.'s Objection, Judge OKs Autopsy of Client's Corpse

Concerning that a client’s corpse is “decomposing by the minute,” a cryogenics company today asked a Florida judge to stop a planned autopsy to determine why a 48-year-old Navy veteran died last week.

But Hillsborough Circuit Judge Martha Cook denied the emergency petition by Alcor Life Extension Foundation, saying that the medical examiner has discretion under state law to decide to perform an autopsy when a death is unexplained, reports the St. Petersburg Times.

“In this case, there’s no evidence of foul play, there’s no criminal investigation,” attorney Clifford Wolff had argued on behalf of Alcor and its deceased client, Michael Ned Miller. If the autopsy is performed, it will be more difficult for the company to preserve Miller’s body for a possible revival in the future, if medical science advances permit this, Wolff said.

Dr. Vernard Adams, Hillsborough County’s medical examiner, said Miller might have died of an accidental prescription drug overdose, which an autopsy can determine. Without one, he will have to list the cause of death as undetermined, which could make it difficult for relatives to collect life insurance, the newspaper reports.

Adams voluntarily promised, however, to minimize the extent of the autopsy.

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