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When is an autopsy performed?

Not all persons brought to the Medical Examiner’s Office are autopsied. Certain cases are not autopsied where no “foul play” is suspected and evidence of a natural death is present, in other cases where there is the possibility of legal proceedings which may arise as a result of a homicide, accident, suicide. . .an autopsy will be performed. In these cases both positive and negative information is found which substantiates the ruling and cause of death as signed by the Coroner. Under a new change in the Ohio Revised Code, any child under age 2 years that is referred to the Medical Examiner’s Office with no known potentially lethal disease shall be autopsied unless contrary to the parent’s religious beliefs.  

Does the Medical Examiner need permission from the next-of-kin for an autopsy?

Ohio Law (ORC 2108.52) provides that the Medical Examiner does not need permission for an autopsy. The Office of the Medical Examiner will attempt to comply with the wishes of the next-of-kin, if this does not conflict with the duties of the Medical Examiner as changed by Ohio Law including due regard for the deceased religious persuasion.  

What is an autopsy and is there a charge for it?

An autopsy is a systematic examination by a qualified physician of the body of a deceased person for the purpose of determining the cause of death and recovering, from the body, evidence of the cause of death. A record is made of the findings of the autopsy including microscopic and toxicologic laboratory test. These laboratory tests are conducted after the release of the body to the next-of-kin for burial. There is no charge to the next-of-kin for an autopsy nor for any of the tests, which may be conducted by the Medical Examiner.