Dr. M.J. Bazos MD,
What is an
An autopsy is an exam of the body of a person
who has died. The purpose of an autopsy is to answer questions about the
person's illness or the cause of death. In addition, autopsies provide valuable
information that helps doctors save the lives of others. Autopsies are performed
by specially trained physicians, called pathologists.
Who may request an
You can request an autopsy if you are the
person's next of kin or the legally responsible party. Your doctor will ask you
to sign a consent form to give permission for the autopsy. You may limit the
autopsy in any manner you wish. If the cause of death is unclear, the
pathologist may perform an autopsy without the family's permission.
What is the procedure for an
First, the pathologist looks at the body for
clues about the cause of death. Next, he or she examines the internal organs,
taking samples as needed to look at under a microscope. The autopsy takes from 2
to 4 hours. The autopsy room looks like an operating room. An atmosphere of
dignity and respect is maintained at all times.
What does an autopsy
Because autopsies help doctors learn more about
illness and ways to improve medical care, autopsies are usually performed
Will an autopsy interfere with
No. Pathologists perform autopsies in a way that
doesn't interfere with burial or cremation. Once the autopsy is completed, the
hospital tells the funeral home. An autopsy won't delay funeral services.
When will the results of an autopsy
The first findings from an autopsy are usually
ready in 2 to 3 days. The doctor can review these results with you. A final
report may take many weeks because of the detailed studies performed on tissue
samples. The doctor will also review the final report with you.