What is an Autopsy?
A specially trained medical doctor, a pathologist, supervises the examination of the body and internal organs of a deceased individual. A DPALM pathologist is experienced in the recognition of disease processes and examines the body and its internal organs to detect the presence of disease processes and to make a determination of the cause(s), mechanisms and manner of death. The autopsy is done respectfully and does not alter the individual’s facial appearance. Any type of funeral arrangement can be made, including open casket funerals.
Who is eligible for Autopsy?
Any deceased individual may be eligible for autopsy at the UTHealth Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine if this procedure is not otherwise available and/or if the family is seeking information to be obtained by the procedure . The next-of-kin or another family member who holds a durable power of attorney must sign an autopsy consent form.
Autopsy at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston
Autopsies allow for the determination of the cause(s), mechanisms and manner of death. Autopsies also contribute to advances in scientific research and general medical knowledge.
- Postmortem Examination or Autopsy Consent Form – 66466
- Postmortem Release of Body to Funeral Home Authorization Form
- HIPAA Form
- Payment Authorization Form
- Family Member Checklist
Who Makes the Decision?
Some individuals have voiced their wishes about an autopsy to their family. The next-of-kin is responsible for the decision. The oldest child is considered the legal next-of-kin if the spouse is deceased, although all children should be involved in the autopsy decision.
Is There a Cost for Autopsy?
The cost for an autopsy will depend on the kind of services provided. Please call the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at 713-500-5258 for more information.
How Will I get the Autopsy Results?
A preliminary report will be prepared within 72 hours. Microscopic examination and a report of the pathologic findings will be available within one month. Examination of the brain requires specialized fixation and examination procedures. Reports are completed in 2 to 5 months depending on the complexity of the studies required to complete the examination.