Autopsy defined

An autopsy is also commonly called a post-mortem examination. This procedure is a detailed and very careful medical examination of a person’s body and its organs after death in order to help establish the cause of the person’s death. A physician, most commonly a pathologist who specializes in the study of human diseases, performs the autopsy along with a forensic nurse/death investigator or nurse coroner. Surgical techniques are used to remove and examine each organ, and some tissue samples are selected for microscopic or other special tests. An autopsy is usually carried out within 48 hours after the death of a person. An autopsy can be hospital-based or coronial. The state coroner orders coronial autopsies, whereas hospital based autopsies may be performed at the request of the family. Autopsies will usually include testing for any infections through microbiology, changes in body tissue and organs by looking at the anatomical histology, and also any chemicals, medication or drugs poisons.

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