For some, Vidal Herrera's truck, boldly displaying the phrase 1-800-AUTOPSY, may seem morbid. But for others, it could provide comfort during the most difficult period of their lives.
Amid declining autopsy rates in the United States, Herrera's Los Angeles-based autopsy business, 1-800-Autopsy, helps families to find personal closure and gather evidence to prove medical malpractice, NBC4's media partner KPCC reports.
Herrera, a former field deputy coroner-investigator, told KPCC that autopsies in hospitals have become "almost nonexistent," creating problems for families who struggle to verify a loved one's cause of death.
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In one instance, an autopsy revealed that a person's death from surgical complications was the result of a nurse forgetting to turn the oxygen on, according to Vicki Herrera, Vidal Herrera's wife and boss.
Despite the decrease in autopsies in recent years, Herrera's profession is one that he told KPCC is still evolving. Back when he entered the field, coroners were former embalmers. Now, they are well-trained and have degrees.