Information For Funeral Directors
Phone: 800-886-1AAS (800-886-1227).
When a family requests an autopsy, they often seek the
help of a funeral director to refer them to a suitable service
Our pathologists have over 80 years collective experience
providing private/medical and forensic autopsies with more
than 23,000 collective autopsy experiences. This long and
prestigious track record in concert with our professionalism
and dignified service will complement the skills and reputation
of your funeral home.
Our service driven philosophy puts the needs of the clients
first. Our scheduling is as flexible as needed to best accommodate
you and the families we serve.
We always leave the work area spotless and never leave
facility personnel with additional clean up after our work
We carefully safeguard the integrity of the vessels to
facilitate embalming and make your preservation work easier.
During the autopsy process, an American Autopsy Services'
consultant is assigned to the case and is available to the
family 24/7 to answer questions about any aspect of the
process, as well as to be there for them.
American Autopsy Services has great respect for the inherent
difficulties families face at such times. We therefore offer
all autopsy and related services at reasonable cost without
any compromise in service.
When a family requests an autopsy, American Autopsy Services
is a name you can recommend to your clients with confidence.
Contact an American Autopsy Services' consultant for more
American Autopsy Services is a professional group of pathologists
offering a complete range of pathology services. All cases
are administered directly by American Autopsy Services and
each is given a customer service contact who is on call
to keep you informed of progress, findings and other details,
anytime day or night. Range of services includes the following:
Private/Medical Autopsies. When the family desires
a fully independent examination of the cause and manner
of death, American Autopsy Services' professionals are ready
to assist you. This procedure will answer questions concerning
acquired and inherited diseases, so as to assist the family
in finding closure for the loss of their loved one, and
to assist the surviving family members with their own healthcare
maintenance. The family will receive a comprehensive written
report including gross and microscopic examination.
Forensic Autopsies. Fully independent autopsies
providing the cause and manner of death with medical-legal
consultation to families and attorneys, forensic photography,
preservation of toxicology samples and appropriate medical
record review. This includes a comprehensive report with
a gross and microscopic examination, and in addition, the
report will assist the family in finding closure for the
loss of their loved one and will answer questions concerning
acquired and inherited diseases.
Exhumation Autopsies. When the burial of a loved
one has already taken place, American Autopsy Services can
help the family find answers for closure, document genetic
diseases, or prepare for litigation. The loved one can be
exhumed or removed from the grave and a complete Private/Medical,
Forensic Autopsy or re-autopsy examination will provide
answers to the family's questions and determine cause and
manner of death.
Independent Autopsy Observation or Second Observer Autopsies.
American Autopsy Services' professionals are often
asked to represent the interests of the family when the
Coroner or Medical Examiner has ordered an autopsy on their
loved one. An American Autopsy Services' physician will
attend and observe the Coroner/Medical Examiner autopsy
and then prepare an independent comprehensive report to
include gross and microscopic examination.
Re-autopsy. When the Coroner/Medical Examiner has
already performed an autopsy, or an autopsy has been performed
in a hospital, families often seek a re-examination or re-autopsy
to ensure an independent opinion. American Autopsy Services'
professionals are ready to provide this service with an
independent comprehensive autopsy report to include gross
and microscopic examination.
Toxicology. A full array of laboratory services
is available to provide detailed examination into cause
and manner of death. The many advances in this field have
given pathologists a powerful tool in helping to discover
causes that had previously gone undetected.
Neuropathology Services/Brain Autopsy. American
Autopsy Services offers post-mortem neurological examination
of the central (brain) and/or peripheral nervous system
(spinal cord, nerves, muscles and eye) for diagnosis and
confirmation of such diseases as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's
disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
(Lou Gehrig disease), etc. This specialized examination
is performed by a Board Certified Neuropathologist. This
service is available either separately or it can be provided
in conjunction with a complete autopsy. For more information,
contact American Autopsy Services directly: Phone: 800-886-1AAS (800-886-1227).
Genetic Counseling. Medical counsel for families
regarding inherited and potentially inheritable disease
processes discovered by autopsy.
Autopsy Report and Medical Record Review. Providing
medical opinion on standard of care, correct diagnosis,
adequacy of care, and cause and manner of death. American
Autopsy Services has qualified clinical experts with forensic
experience to provide opinions on the standard of care and
correlate the clinical and autopsy findings.
Medical Malpractice/Wrongful Death Investigation. American
Autopsy Services' fact-finding research can help determine
if cause and manner of death circumstances suggest possible
medical malpractice. We can do a complete autopsy for your
client or review the autopsy results if an autopsy has already
been done by the hospital or Medical Examiner/Coroner.
Crime Scene Investigation. Expert independent investigations
are conducted to answer the most important questions. American
Autopsy Services has seasoned private investigators who
are ready to assist when needed.
Medical Photography. When extensive documentation
of an autopsy is required for any reason, American Autopsy
Services provides complete photographic services. The exact
appearance of injuries and other perishable features on
the body should always be recorded when they might later
be called into question in the course of any legal proceedings.
Expert Medical Opinion Services. American Autopsy
Services' pathologists are experts in deposition and trial
testimony for both civil and criminal cases, having extensive
experience in each.
Tissue and Organ Procurement. In the event a family
needs to understand the causes of specific, known conditions
contributing to a death, or is donating organs, American
Autopsy Services will remove the organ and prepare it for
shipment to the appropriate research group conducting the
analysis or research. This service includes brain, spinal
cord, and lung procurement (asbestos related).
Complete Case Management. American Autopsy Services
offers a full service approach. Any and all actions requested,
regardless of length or complexity, are coordinated for
and with the family through a single administrative contact
who will work with the family through to final outcome.
Final Outcome. In keeping with a philosophy of leaving
no questions unanswered, all autopsy findings and reports
are fully and carefully explained. When appropriate, an
American Autopsy Services' professional will meet with the
family to ensure they fully understand the results of the
autopsy and death investigation.
Medical Record Review. Providing medical opinion
on standard of care, correct diagnosis and adequacy of care.
American Autopsy Services' pathologists are board certified
in Anatomic, Clinical, Forensic and Neuropathology, with
consultants available in Hemopathology, Pulmonary Pathology,
Liver Pathology, Cardiovascular Pathology and Pediatric
Pathology. We are also leaders in the development and use
of computer and video imaging technologies for pathological
and other medical purposes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an autopsy?
An autopsy is a surgical procedure that entails an invasive
examination in order to determine the cause and manner of
Who is most qualified to perform an autopsy?
Board Certified Pathologists are the most fully qualified
experts for providing autopsy services. They are specially
trained to recognize the anatomic changes brought about
Are American Autopsy Services' pathologists board certified?
Yes, American Autopsy Services' pathologists are board certified
in Anatomic, Clinical, Forensic, and Neuropathology. All
are fully qualified and experienced in court testimony.
Can anyone request an autopsy?
Any family member or close friend of the deceased can ask
for an autopsy, but the autopsy must be properly authorized.
Who can authorize an autopsy?
Only the legal next of kin or individual (family member
or non-family member) with durable power of attorney can
authorize an autopsy.
Who is considered the legal next of kin?
The legal next of kin would be one of the following: parent
of a minor child, surviving spouse, oldest adult child (if
both parents are deceased or divorced), and oldest adult
sibling (if both are parents deceased). For more information
contact American Autopsy Services directly: Phone: 800-886-1AAS (800-886-1227).
Is the pathologist providing the autopsy responsible
for signing the death certificate?
No, the attending physician who provided medical services
prior to the person's death is responsible for signing the
death certificate. In the event the attending physician
doesn't sign the death certificate, then the Coroner or
Medical Examiner takes jurisdiction.
When does the local jurisdiction order an autopsy?
The Coroner or Medical Examiner deals with cases of sudden,
unexpected, violent or traumatic death. The Coroner or Medical
Examiner also makes the decision on what type of cases involving
a natural death may be placed under their jurisdiction for
further investigation. If the deceased has a significant
well documented medical history, the Coroner or Medical
Examiner will usually release the case and not perform an
autopsy. Each jurisdiction has its own guidelines and these
guidelines may vary significantly.
Where are private autopsies performed?
Most autopsies are performed at the funeral home providing
services for the family. If the funeral home cannot accommodate
the autopsy procedure, then American Autopsy Services will
make arrangements to use another appropriate facility.
Who performs the autopsy?
An American Autopsy Services' Board Certified Forensic Pathologist
conducts and administers the autopsy from start to finish.
American Autopsy Services never subcontracts to other pathologists.
When should an autopsy be done?
Coroner and Medical Examiner guidelines must be followed
in each jurisdiction. However, even if not called for by
law, an autopsy is always recommended. Any and all questions
related to the death can be investigated. Even where there
are no questions, autopsies often reveal useful information
to help the family better deal with their loss. An autopsy
also forestalls questions that may arise after burial or
cremation, and the autopsy often discloses vital information,
such as the status of inheritable diseases that will assist
surviving family members with their health care. We suggest
you consult with an American Autopsy Services' representative
who can help you decide.
Will an autopsy affect funeral arrangements?
No, there is no change in the appearance of the body following
the autopsy. Working with your funeral director, American
Autopsy Services will attempt to schedule the autopsy so
as not to affect funeral arrangements.
Will the casket have to be closed because of an autopsy?
No, American Autopsy Services takes every measure to care
for and respect the body so as not to create problems for
embalming and viewing by paying meticulous attention to
blood vessel integrity and preservation.
How much does an autopsy cost?
The basic autopsy fee is $3500.00 for a medical autopsy
where the family wants to know the cause of death and gain
valuable information about genetic or inherited diseases.
This includes the reviewing of appropriate medical records
and basic medical photography. The forensic autopsy fee
is $4000.00. It includes forensic photography; routine toxicology
samples; reviewing appropriate medical records, investigative
and police reports; and interfacing with the family's attorney.
There are additional fees for travel expenses outside of
the local area and for specialized services such as toxicology,
neuropathology examination, and specialized diagnostic techniques
and consultations. Contact an American Autopsy Services'
consultant for full details.
When should an autopsy be performed?
The autopsy should be performed as soon as possible after
death. When the deceased is properly cooled, decomposition
is slowed and a brief delay of several days usually will
not interfere with the autopsy results.
Can an autopsy be performed if the body has been embalmed?
Yes. For best outcome, an autopsy should be performed on
an unembalmed body. However, if there will be a long delay
(beyond one week) between death and the autopsy, embalming
is recommended because embalming preserves the body tissues.
But please note that embalming does interfere with most
of the toxicology studies.
How soon after an autopsy is the report ready?
Verbal preliminary findings are given to the authorizing
family member or individual within 24 to 48 hours following
completion of the autopsy. A full written report is usually
completed and mailed in 6 to 8 weeks. If there are special
procedures requested such as toxicology, neuropathology
etc., the written report may take up to 12 weeks. American
Autopsy Services' personnel will go over the report with
the requesting party and answer any questions.
For any questions, please contact our office.
American Autopsy Services, Inc.
Phone: 800-886-1AAS (800-886-1227)
E-mail - info@AmericanAutopsy.com