The word “autopsy” may have a negative connotation for some people, but this medical examination is an important part of understanding the cause of death if there are questions. An autopsy can provide not only physical evidence of the cause of death, but it can also help surviving family members find closure after the passing of a loved one.  Forensic pathologists study diseases and abnormalities for years so they are able to see the clues that help them accurately ascertain what caused the death of your loved one by performing both an internal and external examination of the body.

 

External Examination During An Autopsy


The external examination helps the coroner or pathologist learn more about the deceased, by noting the time of death as well as physical characteristics such as skin and hair color, eye color, ethnicity, age, and sex. They perform multiple measurements on the body as well, noting their weight and taking small samples of hair, nails, and skin for further analysis. During this time, the pathologist will record verbal notes as well as completing a written diagram of the body.

 

Internal Examination During An Autopsy


If an internal examination is required, the pathologist will dissect the chest cavity by starting with a Y-shaped incision before removing the internal organs. This allows the pathologist to determine if there are any abnormalities that should be addressed during the autopsy or any follow-up that is required. Throughout the process, the body is treated respectfully and carefully by the individuals preparing the body for autopsy as well as by the pathologist. Pathologists may send the organs for additional dissection or tests to determine if there are tumors or other lesions or if the organs are to be used for training or diagnostic purposes.

Understanding the reasons that your loved one needs an autopsy and the benefits that can be had may help make the concept a little more approachable for family members. During this emotional time, there are often a lot of questions that do not have a quick answer. When you need assistance, our friendly and knowledgeable Mountain View Funeral Home and Cemetery staff are available at 480-832-2850 or via email to wecare@mvfuneralhome.com.