Today is Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019

Department of

Pathology and Laboratory Medicine


Who is eligible for University of Cincinnati's post mortem evaluation?

Our private autopsy service examines individuals who die of apparently natural causes outside of a hospital or emergency room. Our service does not provide a medical legal investigation of death. A medical legal investigation of death can only be provided by a medical examiner or coroner.

What happens during the examination?

All evaluations are performed by a pathology physician in training (resident), assisted by specialized technologist, and supervised by a board certified anatomic pathologist.  A Y shaped incision is performed on the chest and abdomen, similar to exploratory surgery.  In the cases of a brain evaluation, a single scalp incision is made. All organs are removed (including the brain) and maintained at the University of Cincinnati for further evaluation and sectioning, except by request for religious and cultural reasons. Other than our incision site(s), our examination does not alter the appearance of the deceased.

What are the benefits of a post mortem examination?

  • May answer questions about the underlying cause(s) of death.
  • Evaluates the extent of disease(s).
  • Identifies hereditary diseases, which may be important to surviving family members.
  • Provides feedback to clinicians who cared for the decedent.
  • Provides education for health professions.
  • Identifies and characterizes new diseases.

What are the limits of our post mortem examination?

  • We do not provide autopsy beyond post mortem day 6.
  • In cases of a prolonged postmortem interval, microscopic examination is limited, and cultures to assess for different infectious etiologies are not possible.
  • We cannot provide a medical-legal investigation of death; we do not specialize in forensic pathology.
  • We only provide services for adults (age 16 and older).
  • We cannot evaluate for or address psychiatric diseases (bipolar disease, depression, schizophrenia).
  • Molecular work-ups (to include DNA sequencing) are not provided as part of the baseline fee.
  • We do not provide toxicological evaluations (questions regarding prescription or illicit drug overdoses, etc).
  • We do not provide a second autopsy evaluation (we do not perform an autopsy if one has already been completed).

How much does an autopsy cost?

Full autopsy (brain, chest, abdomen, pelvis) $3,000.00
Brain only $2,200.00
Chest, abdomen, pelvis $2,000.00
Single organ $1,500.00
Organ procurement $750.00

Forms required to be completed prior to performing an autopsy

How do I request a private autopsy?

The anatomic pathology department can reached between 9:00 am-5 pm Monday through Friday by calling 513-584-7284 or by emailing Jim Hill at the following email address: