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Mission Statement

two pathologistsThe Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office Pathology Assistants will strive to insure accurate and reliable assistance to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner, Deputy Coroners and Fellows in all phases of the autopsy. 

The pathology assistants will strive to ensure that each body autopsied at the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office is treated with dignity and respect and prepared for the family’s funeral home in a professional and acceptable manner. 

Under the direction of the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner, Deputy Coroners and Fellows, the Pathology Assistants will strive to provide the best possible assistance, now and in the future, so that the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner may determine the cause and manner of death.    

General Autopsy Procedures

medical equipmentGenerally, an autopsy involves a detailed external physical examination of a body, which includes a description of visible injuries, followed by a detailed internal examination of a body.  The internal examination includes inspection of the organs, including their weights and any abnormalities seen, and the other soft tissues and bones and collection of body fluids.  Each organ is weighed; dissected and small samples are placed in a formalin fixative solution and stored for later examination as needed.  All other remaining organs are returned with the body.  Microscopic examination of tissues is performed on most autopsies and toxicology testing is performed on most autopsies.  All duties performed by the pathology assistant during the autopsy will be under the direct supervision of the pathologist.  

Job Description Of Pathology Assistant

  • Assist Pathologists in autopsy room activities.
  • Assist Pathologists in evisceration, as well as, any and all other aspects of the autopsy such as examination of the body, including locating and retrieving foreign bodies such as bullets, notating injuries and anomalies.
  • Responsible for cleaning autopsy area.
  • Taking and processing x-rays, including maintaining x-rays, and keeping x-ray equipment in good condition.
  • Responsible for keeping all autopsy room equipment in working condition, clean and ready.
  • Ordering and keeping stock of autopsy room supplies and personal protective equipment.  


  • Associate degree in anatomy, funeral services, biology, or related fields, or
  • Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer, or
  • Five years experience working in a Medical Examiner’s Office, hospital, or funeral home/mortuary; or an equivalent combination of education, training, and experience.
  • Successful completion of FEMA ICS 100, 200, and 700 courses is required within the probationary period.

All funeral arrangements are handled according to each family’s individual wishes through the funeral home, crematory or mortuary service of their choice.

Further information can be accessed at the following links:

Tiffin University

National Association of Medical Examiners

Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science

Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science

Board of Embalmers & Funeral Directors of Ohio

Ohio Funeral Directors Association

Ohio Embalmer’s Association

National Funeral Director’s Association

Lodox N.A., LLC


West Virginia University School of Medicine

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Sciences


On the job training with Chuck Yarborough, Plain Dealer Article: 'Cause of Death'

  Gray's Anatomy: The Classic Collector's Edition
Embalming: History, Theory, and Practice
The Anatomy Coloring Book
Grant's Dissector
Forensic Pathology
Learning Radiology: Recognizing the Basics
Forensic Autopsy: A Handbook and Atlas
Benefits of Lodox Digital Radiology in Forensic Pathology
Forensic Researchers Set Standards for X-Ray Identification of Bodies