Rexene Worrell, M.D.
An autopsy is a postmortem examination of the body that allows a physician to determine the cause and manner of death.
The autopsy involves both an external and internal examination of the body, including the brain. In some cases, toxicology (testing for drugs in the blood or other fluids), histology (a microscopic exam of tissues), and a review of medical records and health history of your loved one will be conducted.
The external portion of the exam documents your loved one’s unique physical characteristics such as hair and eye color, scars, and tattoos. The external exam also documents all injuries that are visible externally, including, for example, bruises, abrasions, bed sores, and evidence of any medical intervention (e.g., IV’s, tubes, and bandages).
The internal portion of the exam involves examining each organ for evidence of injury, disease, or disease processes.
Based on the information gleaned through the external and internal exams, histology and toxicology results (if applicable), a review of the circumstances surrounding the death, medical records, and any other relevant information available, a cause of death will be determined.