Autopsy - Testing , History and Reports

Submitted on March 27, 2012

An autopsy is a procedure that is conducted after the death of an individual. An autopsy may be conducted for the purpose of medical research or for the purpose of research into the circumstances surrounding the death of the individual. This procedure may be performed to understand why an individual has passed away. An individual is declared dead when his or her pulse can no longer be recorded. This leads to the death of the end of functioning of the brain and heart which is what ultimately leads to death. There are a number of different causes that may be related to the death of an individual. On the face of it, these causes may not be immediately apparent because of the vast and complicated systems in the human body. It is for this reason that an autopsy needs to be conducted.

Autopsy Tests and History

Autopsy tests are varied in their scope. There could be a number of different medical tests that are all performed on the same corpse to gain some clarity on the health condition of the individual before he or she passed away. Autopsy testing covers a range of different tests such as blood tests, tissue sample tests, scans and physical examination. If the patient has passed away with some witnesses present, then the condition of the patient before death will determine the course of the autopsy, in the sense that the doctor will probably be able to garner some clues about the possible cause of death. An autopsy procedure can also establish the rough time line around the death of the individual. Autopsy testing is also not restricted to the cause of death itself. Autopsy testing is also useful to establish the general parameters of the individual’s health as well. This is used to rule out foul play and to rule out other possibilities of death. An autopsy history may also be useful when it comes to the possibility of organ donation. This is because the organs of an unhealthy patient should not be transplanted to a recipient if the case ever arises.

Testing and Reports

Autopsy testing is conducted in all cases where there may be suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of an individual. These suspicious circumstances could include substance abuse, poisoning or mysterious death that cannot be explained without autopsy testing. This brings a law enforcement angle into the picture. Law enforcement agencies use autopsy reports to guide their investigation into the cause of death and the legal ramifications of this. Certain types of poisoning cannot be detected without examining the inner details of the individual’s body. When it comes to gunshot wounds as well, the need for an autopsy exists as the exact affected area needs to be examined. In all cases, autopsy testing is conducted with the use of photography equipment. This is done to document every step in the procedure. For cases where there is some doubt or if the case is high profile, these findings will be reviewed by a committee.

Autopsy testing takes place in a morgue where the body will be brought after the patient has passed away. The autopsy report is prepared as the procedure is being performed. This is done either by recording the voice of the doctor or by having one or more assistants present. An autopsy is a specialist procedure which means that there are specific doctors assigned to this task in a hospital. As with every other type of medical field, the field of autopsy examination requires experience from the doctor which is one of the reasons why it has become a specialist subject. Law enforcement agencies may have their own specialists working as doctors. These doctors will be both accredited officers and doctors at the same time.