Is also known as necropsies or post mortem examination. Derived from the Greek word "autopsia" meaning "to see with one's own eyes". It is a procedure wherein anatomic pathologists dissect corpses to determine the cause of death and to add to medical knowledge. The autopsy begins with a complete external examination. The weight and height of the body are recorded, and identifying marks such as scars and tattoos also are recorded.
• Examination of body after death.
• By law-when death is sudden or occurs within 48 hours of admission.
• Organs and tissues are examined to establish the exact cause of death and to assist in the accumulation of statistical data.
• The internal examination begins with the creation of a Y or U- shaped incision from both shoulders joining over the sternum and continuing down to the pubic bone.
• The skin and underlying tissues are then separated to expose the rib cage and abdominal cavity.
The front of the rib cage is removed to expose the neck and chest organs.
• Small samples are typically taken from all organs to be made into slide preparations for examination under a microscope.
• At the end of an autopsy, the incisions made in the body are sewn closed.
• The organs may be returned to the body or may be retained for teaching, research, and diagnostic purposes.
1. Medico-Legal Autopsy or Forensic or coroner's autopsies: Those ordered by coroner for sudden and suspicions death
2. Anatomical or academic autopsies
3. Clinical or Pathological autopsies
· Determine the cause of death
· The state of health of the person before he or she died,
· To check any medical diagnosis and treatment before death was appropriate
Role of health professional:
· Obtain consent
· Explain the reasons if the death is caused by accident, suicide, homicide, illegal therapeutic practice the coroner must be notified.
· After autopsy hospital cannot retain any tissue or organ without the permission of the person who consented.