AUTOPSY POLICY

 

Autopsy Policy

It is the policy of the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner to perform an autopsy on all cases coming under its jurisdiction (exception: persons dying from complications of an accidental hip fracture are not routinely autopsied). However, we are aware that family members, for personal or religious reasons, may object to an autopsy being performed on their loved one. Under such circumstances, the Medical Examiner staff will discuss the situation with the family after a review of all available information, including medical records and police reports. If there is sufficient documentation to substantiate the cause and manner of death, the autopsy may be averted if the family so desires. Alternatively, if there is a strong compelling reason to perform an autopsy (e.g. homicide or suspicion of homicide), the Medical Examiner may seek a court order for the autopsy. Fortunately, this situation is quite unusual.



The decision as to whether an autopsy is to be performed is, by statute, a Medical Examiner decision. Hospital personnel should therefore not request permission for an autopsy. If the family inquires about an autopsy, they should be referred to Medical Examiner personnel. If the family expresses any opinion about an autopsy (e.g. they do or do not want an autopsy performed), please apprise the Medical Examiner staff of the family’s wishes.