Autopsy is a medical procedure also known as Post Mortem and is done by a qualified and experienced pathologist or doctor. This procedure takes 2 to 4 hours. Autopsy report is very important for helping legal matters like murder case or to know the genetic condition of the person and also to know the reason behind the person’s death. Different states have different laws to obtain autopsy reports and results.
Requesting the autopsy report:
- Understand the purpose of an autopsy report: In autopsy, the body of a deceased man or woman is examined by a certified pathologist or doctor. The doctor makes a written report of the post-mortem results, along with the microscopic and laboratory assessments. Relatives, family members or different authorized people can request copies of these reports through proper procedure. There are two kinds of autopsies:
- The hospital autopsy: This type of autopsy is also known as necropsy. In this type pathologist or doctor use different surgical instruments or methods for internal and external examination of the dead body. This hospital autopsy report and results help to get the reason behind the person’s death or the diseases or problems that caused the death of the person.
- The forensic autopsy: This type helps to determine the reason of death and also the manner of death such as natural, homicide, suicide, murder or accident. Forensic autopsy also helps to determine the time of death or injury and identity of the person who died. The results and reports of forensic autopsy can be used in criminal or murder cases to prove/disprove the guilty/innocent person.
- Check your state’s policy: Different states or countries have different policies for obtaining autopsy reports. Many countries or states take 30 to 45 days to publish an autopsy report and results while in complicated cases it would take up to 90 days or more to complete and publish the final autopsy report and results. Some countries or states restrict autopsy reports to relatives or family members only if they are interested while some countries or states make autopsy reports public and easily reachable for everyone but in some circumstances they can withhold the reports.
- Write a request for an autopsy report: In many countries or states they demand proper written requests to obtain autopsy reports and results. Details of request, address and request form are easily available on the website of your state’s office of Chief Medical Examiner or coroner’s office. In the autopsy report form you need to write your full name, address, phone number, relation with the deceased person, death date and country where death occurred. While in some states such as Maryland or Lowa they make the autopsy report public. The reason and manner of death become public records while the other information is confidential and made private as medical records. Then relatives or family members or other official members like doctors, police, detectives, and law enforcement agencies that investigate the case write a proper request for an autopsy report and results.
2) Doctor’s response:
- Rule of doctor-patient confidentiality is also applied on autopsy reports and results. This means that a doctor is restricted and not allowed to share the autopsy report and results with someone. This can only be shared with relatives or family members of the deceased on their request.
- In lots of medical centers, the autopsy report and results are first submitted to the doctor who deals with the patient; the treating doctor then shares the reports with the relatives and family of the deceased person. The relatives and family members (subsequent-of-family) are constantly entitled to obtain a copy of the autopsy report and results. The medical center isn’t allowed to provide any reports and results related to an autopsy or to respond to inquiries about an autopsy from any third party. Of course, the family can also select to share the results and reports with anyone they want, however they have to provide written permission of the medical center to obtain autopsy reports and results, simply as with every medical information.
- If an autopsy is to be carried out at a teaching health center, the case can be discussed at teaching meetings, or the process or reports and results can be viewed by medical college students and residents for teaching purposes. These people are restricted by the policies of doctor-patient confidentiality and may not reveal autopsy reports and results to anyone except relatives and family members.
3) Retrieving the Autopsy Report:
- View the autopsy in person: In states like Maryland you can easily view or check autopsy reports by visiting the Chief Medical Examiner Office free of cost. But you can’t take with you or copy the autopsy report or results, you have to pay if you want a copy of the autopsy report and results. You also visit the website of the chief medical examiner office for more details and procedure for viewing the autopsy report. If you want further information then request an autopsy report and results at the chief medical examiner office. Most of the cities have a coroner’s office or chief medical examiner office.
- Pay for the reports, if necessary: Many countries or states give autopsy reports and results free of cost to relatives or family members of deceased persons while some countries or states make autopsy reports and results public on the website of the State’s Chief Medical Examiner Office. But there are some countries or states like Texas and Maryland that require a fee for obtaining autopsy reports and results after writing a request. In Texas, autopsy reports cost $0.1 per page while in Maryland, it costs $30 for family members. It means autopsy reports and results fee may vary country to country or state to state.
- Receive a report by mail: Procedure of requesting an autopsy report and results is different in different countries or states. In many countries or states, you will receive autopsy reports and results via regular mail. Keep it in mind that it will take time, so be patient.
An autopsy report also known as post mortem is very helpful in medical science and also in investigating a crime or murder case. This will also help to determine the cause and manner of death. In many countries or states Autopsy reports are easily available at the website of the chief medical examiner office or coroner’s office while in some countries autopsy reports aren’t easily available. For obtaining the reports and results write a request in the chief medical examiner office. Report only shared with relatives and family members of the dead person. You will have to pay a fee for getting the autopsy report and results.