Bakersfield family seeks answers after loved one dies unexpectedly after routine medical procedure

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A Bakersfield family is searching for answers after a loved one dies just days after a routine medical procedure.

72-year-old Wayne Cameron died early Sunday morning just days after getting a routine preventative colonoscopy.

 "He got out he was fine he was painting the fence Thursday and Friday morning he started having really super bad abdominal pains," said Cameron’s daughter Kim Pelham.

The family took Cameron to the ER and told doctors there he had just had a colonoscopy two days ago.

“They did a CT scan and said it was fine.  It can’t be fine," Pelham said.

Cameron was sent home with pain medication and died early Sunday morning.

The Kern County Coroner’s office says Cameron’s primary physician agreed to sign off on the manner and cause of death so the body was taken from his home to green lawn mortuary.

"They looked at his health at his doctor records and they said he had hypertension so they were planning as writing it off as a heart attack, but a heart attack is not in your stomach," Pelham said.

When the family said they wanted an autopsy the doctor decided not to sign the death certificate and the body was transported to the coroner’s office.

The family says they were first told the coroner would do an external forensic examination but not a full autopsy. They said if the family wants a full autopsy they will have to pay for a private one.

Then as 23ABC was putting this report together we were notified that the coroner’s office had gone ahead and completed a full autopsy.

All of this begs the question when is autopsy performed and why did the Cameron family initially get push back when they asked for one?

"It’s crazy. He died at home I thought it was just automatic they did an autopsy to find out his cause of death," Pelham said.

The coroner’s office says a doctor must sign off on cause and manner of death so if the patient's doctor does not, then the coroners pathologist will determine how the person died.

The family says they didn't know about the autopsy until we told them about it.

They say the coroner has told them they are waiting for lab tests and they may not get any final answers for 4 months.

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