An autopsy is an intricate post-mortem medical procedure often requiring complex laboratory tests. It includes examination of all major organs to document injury and/or disease. State law mandates that an autopsy be performed in the case of a sudden, unexpected, or violent death. Autopsies do not affect funeral arrangements, and viewing of the body at the funeral home will still be possible.
An autopsy report takes from three to six months to complete. To ensure the highest professional standards, a final autopsy report is issued only after all necessary tests have been completed and records thoroughly checked for accuracy. To ensure accuracy, many tests take several weeks, or even months to complete. It is the duty of the Office of State Medical Examiners to correctly identify and document the cause of death.
If the autopsy is performed by the Medical Examiner's Office, there is no charge for the autopsy procedure to the family. It is absorbed through operations of the Department of Health, funded through tax dollars. Autopsy reports do cost $40 per copy and are available upon request to the next of kin. To obtain a copy of an autopsy report, the next of kin must submit a letter in writing or an autopsy request form. more