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Family’s Pain Leads Parkland Hospital To Change Autopsy Policy

By Andrea Lucia, CBS 11 News
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Parkland Hospital has changed its policy on how to request permission for autopsies, according to an attorney representing the family of Sonia Soto.

Soto died in March of 2010 from cranial bleeding after she contracted an infection.

In an interview with CBS 11 last November, her father, Ruben Soto remembered embracing his daughter as she lay in her casket and realizing something was wrong.

“She was as light as a pillow,” he said.

He later learned Parkland had removed and kept her internal organs. Soto’s parents insist they made it clear to her doctor they wanted her buried whole so she could rest in peace.

All that seemed to matter, though, was Ruben Soto’s signature on an autopsy consent form, allowing for “the preservation and study of any tissues.”

“If you look at what the Soto family signed, it’s very ambiguous,” said attorney Domingo Garcia, who represented the Soto family last year.

After CBS 11 began investigating, the hospital apologized that the policy “was not clearly communicated.”

The family still worried, though, that this could happen again.

“I wouldn’t wish this on anyone,” said Ruben Soto last November.

This week, the Soto’s new attorney, Angel Reyes, said the hospital finally took steps to make sure it won’t happen again.

“This is a big deal. It’s not every day an institution the size of Parkland changes policy,” said Reyes.

He said the hospital has replaced the old consent form with a new one available in English and Spanish.

It also has a box to check, indicating whether organs should be returned to the body after autopsy, he said.

“I think it’s important to recognize that Parkland listened, and they changed their policy because of the actions the Sotos took,” Reyes said.

The Sotos said they are still hurting, but hopeful things have changed.

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