The word Autopsy has been derived from Greek descent, meaning ‘to see with one’s own eyes. An autopsy is a surgical procedure done after the death of an individual to find out the cause of the demise. In simpler words, it is the post-mortem examination of a cadaver. Autopsy, when performed on animals, is called Necropsy.
Why is Autopsy needed?
When the cause of death is unknown or ambiguous, an autopsy is ordered. It is a thorough examination of a dead body that is helpful in the evaluation of the mode of death. Moreover, it helps in finding the injuries and their extent, diseased organs, and their effects. The mode of fatality due to any toxic substance that is untraceable in laboratory tests can also be found.
- An autopsy determines or verifies the cause of death.
- It provides the basis of medical research and helps in educating medical students and doctors in hospitals.
- It helps in ascertaining the diagnosis and the effectiveness of the treatment done.
- It is needed to be done especially in Medico-Legal Cases where there is a suspicion of homicide, suicide, or an accident.
- It is useful in discovering genetic diseases which can be inherited in the offspring.
Who conducts an Autopsy?
Autopsies are carried out by medical doctors or pathologists, who have specialized in the field. The forensic department aids in the examination of body tissues and fluids taken as samples for finding the cause of death. It is done after consent from a person’s next of kin.
How is an Autopsy performed?
Before giving consent to an Autopsy, one must know how it is conducted. It begins by doing a complete external examination of the body after which skin is incised and an internal examination is done. All body organs and bones are identified and checked for any source of mortality. At first, a naked-eye inspection is done, followed by a microscopic examination done by a Pathologist. After the completion of the exam, all the body parts are assembled as they were before, and the body is sewn together to be handed over to the attendants of the deceased.
Autopsy Consent Form
As it is a sensitive matter, like any other surgical procedure, it requires documented consent duly signed by close relatives. An autopsy consent form is filled out by a medical doctor and has these requirements:
- Information about the deceased person; name, age, sex, dates of birth, and death.
- Name of the person requesting the Autopsy with his credentials.
- Autopsy restrictions; limit which region of the body to be examined.
- Allowance of organs to be extracted and taken for further investigation.
- Permission for disposal of viscera in a respectful way.
- Agreement for medical research and education for academic purposes.
- Persons allowed for staying during Autopsy if any.
- Name and signature of a close member of the family: parents, siblings, or children of the deceased.
- Identity and signature of the person requesting the Autopsy.