Autopsy Service

Frequently Asked Questions

The Brody School of Medicine's Division of Autopsy and Forensic Services provides information about the disease or injury processes associated with a patient's death. Autopsies are performed at the family's request or with their permission. The resulting information is shared with the appropriate medical staff members, as well as with law enforcement or legal representatives as requested. We also provide training for medical students and pathology residents in anatomic pathology.

Can the family still have a traditional open-casket viewing if an autopsy is done?

Yes. Professionals at funeral homes have experience in making sure you are comfortable with the presentation.

Can an autopsy delay funeral or cremation arrangements?

Usually there is no delay, depending on when the death occurs. The autopsy is concluded within two hours. Afterward the body is released to the family, funeral home or crematorium.

Is there a fee for an autopsy?

There is no charge when a person has been a Vidant Medical Center patient. Private autopsy fees depend on the type of report or analysis needed. There may be charges for transportation, cremation and funeral services.

Who provides consent for an autopsy?

The immediate family should be in agreement regarding the procedure, but the legal next-of-kin is responsible for authorizing the procedure at the time of death. The legal next-of-kin is, in order of priority: spouse, adult child, either parent, adult brother or sister, or guardian. Consent may be provided by phone, but no procedure can be performed without consent.

Does the family get the autopsy results?

You may request the results and they will be sent by mail within two months. If you need further explanation you may contact our office or schedule a consultation.

To check on the status of your report you may call our office at 252-744-4655 or by fax at 252-744-3650.