National Autopsy Service, which is based in Topeka, Kansas and is owned by Shawn Parcells (“Parcells”), was sued in mid-December 2020 by the family of a 68-year-old man (“decedent’) who died in a hospital and whose death the family believes was caused by medical malpractice. The family paid National Autopsy Service $3,300 for an autopsy and contends that they never received a completed autopsy report.
The decedent was admitted to MercyOne North Iowa (“MercyOne”) in December 2018 after which he was injected with Haldol into his IV instead of being injected into his body. The decedent had been admitted to the hospital for fever, shortness of breath, and confusion after failed antibiotic treatment for an infection. After the injection of Haldol, the decedent experienced signs of a stroke and was transferred to the ICU. Because his condition did not improve, the family had him admitted to hospice where he died less than two weeks later.
The family requested that MercyOne or the state medical examiner conduct an autopsy but they both refused. The family therefore turned to National Autopsy Service on December 21, 2018. Parcells, who reportedly claims to be a self-taught pathology assistant with no formal education or training but claims to have worked as a pathology assistant for the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office in Missouri before starting National Autopsy Service, collected tissue samples from the decedent’s body at the local funeral home and promised the family a complete autopsy report within ninety days. The family claims in its lawsuit that Parcells communicated with them but contends that the autopsy was never completed.
Parcells, who was reportedly banned by a Kansas court from providing autopsy services within weeks after the decedent’s family contacted him, was reportedly indicted by federal authorities in Kansas in November 2020 on ten counts of wire fraud. The federal prosecutors allege that 41-year-old Parcells and his company were paid by at least 375 families from May 2016 to May 2019 for autopsy services for which reports were not received. The federal prosecutors are seeking to recover more than $1 million that Parcells and his company allegedly received in autopsy fees.
The Better Business Bureau states on its website: “According to information in the BBB files, it appears that the company is no longer in business. The phone numbers the BBB had for this company are disconnected, and directory assistance does not have a listing for this company. The BBB’s mail to this company has been returned as undeliverable. If you have an unresolved dispute with this company you may wish to seek legal advice … On April 4, 2019 in the District Court of Shawnee County Kansas, a petition was filed by the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts with Shawn Parcells. The Petition alleges that Shawn Parcells, defendant, has never held a license to practice medicine and surgery; a license to engage in the practice of a physician assistant, or; any license to practice any profession regulated by the Board of Healing Arts and/or described in Chapter 65 of the Kansas Statutes.”
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