What is an autopsy and is it really necessary?

An autopsy is the examination of the body to determine the cause and manner of death. It is similar to a surgical procedure. Often, an autopsy can reveal an undiagnosed disease process or abnormality. It may also detect a genetic disorder that could be inherited by surviving family members. In an accidental death, the question of how a disease process contributed to the accident (if at all) must be answered. Often insurance companies will deny payment of benefits until the autopsy results are available. If the death is due to apparent natural causes and there is sufficient evidence of a pre-existing illness or medical condition, an autopsy may not be necessary. However, if there is any question that the death may be due to "other than natural causes" an autopsy will be performed. In an obviously traumatic death, the cause of death may appear obvious; however, there may be contributing, underlying factors. Again, the insurance companies may deny benefits until they receive the autopsy results.

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1. What is the next step?
2. Will the Coroner make arrangements with a mortuary?
3. Is it necessary for me to come to the Coroner's Office to identify the body?
4. Is viewing allowed?
5. Which deaths must be examined?
6. What is an autopsy and is it really necessary?
7. What if I disagree with the Coroner's Office's decision to do or not to do an autopsy?
8. Will an autopsy report be available?
9. How and when can personal possessions be claimed?
10. Where do I obtain the Death Certificate?
11. What about tissue/ organ donation?
12. Body Donation
13. Will I be charged for other Coroner services?
14. I need to enter my relative’s or friend’s residence, but it is sealed, what can I do?
15. Important numbers
16. Mortuaries
17. Cleaning services