In March 2010, Neil Dymott Hudson successfully defended a local pathologist accused of desecrating a corpse and performing an autopsy without consent.  Prior to the start of the trial, numerous other defendants named in the action settled out or were dismissed from the suit.

The case involved a 68-year-old female who, after suffering from a host of medical conditions, was found to have a retained surgical sponge from a prior surgery.  The decedent recovered, however approximately four (4) months later expired.  The Defendant pathologist, knowing of the retained sponge in the decedents’ history, reported the case to the Medical Examiner’s office.  The Medical Examiner waived jurisdiction, and the Defendant conducted the autopsy pursuant to an apparently valid consent.  The autopsy report listed several potential causes of death.  The body was then embalmed and buried.

The plaintiffs, decedent’s adult children, believing a cover-up occurred, had the body exhumed.  A second, private autopsy was performed which allegedly revealed no organs inside the body. The family claimed the Defendant had disposed of all the decedent’s organs during the first autopsy, so the issue of the sponge would be hidden.  Defendant’s expert pathologist, a critical care specialist and the original surgeon all testified that there was no conspiracy or cover-up and that the autopsy performed by the Defendant was done appropriately and within the standard of care.

After three hours of deliberation the jury agreed and returned a verdict for the defense. The trial lasted eight days.