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How the autopsy is done

The person's body is treated with great respect at all times.

The pathologist carries out a detailed external and internal examination of the body. The technical and scientific staff in the mortuary assist the pathologist.

Techniques similar to those used in surgical operations are involved. The major organs of the body are examined. After the autopsy, small specimens are taken for further detailed scientific and medical examination.

These examinations may include tests for:

  • Infection (microbiology)
  • Changes in body tissues and organs (anatomical histology)
  • Chemicals, e.g. medication, drugs or poisons (toxicology and pharmacology)

These tests are carried out on samples of blood or tissue which are taken from the person's body and retained for that purpose. Occasionally it is necessary to retain larger portions of tissue or whole organs for medical tests in relation to the investigation of the death.

Information regarding organ retention following autopsy is available from the Coronial Counseling Service. Telephone - 9425 2900, country calls - 1800 671 994.

Last updated: 15-Jan-2014

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