Alfred Pathology Autopsy (Post Mortem) Service
Mortuary Technician Hours: 7:00 am – 4:00 pm
Mortuary Telephone: 907 62684
Alfred Pathology Service cannot perform a hospital autopsy unless an Alfred Health Request for Non-Coronial Autopsy Form and Death Certificate are provided to the pathologist.
The Request for Non-Coronial Autopsy Form can be printed from the Deceased Persons portal on the Alfred Health Connect webpage. Click on the ‘Resources and Tools’ tab on the home page and then select the ‘Deceased Persons Resource Pack’. Link to resources relating to autopsies are found at the bottom of the page.
The autopsy request form consists of 3 main parts.
Part A: Completed by the requesting medical officer and signed by the senior available next of kin. Documents formal consent by the next of kin to an autopsy request. Also documents the autopsy option selected by the next of kin and any conditions on their consent being granted. Verbal consent to an autopsy is permitted but the requirements for informed consent still apply.
Part B: Completed by the requesting medical officer. Provides clinical details for the pathologist. It is essential that the autopsy request include a detailed clinical history and pose specific questions to be answered by the pathologist. This is a professional courtesy as would be expected for any request for consultation from a senior medical specialist.
Part C: Completed by the pathologists. Documents final authorisation by the pathologist acting in their capacity as a designated officer under the human tissue act.
Consent for Hospital Autopsy
Alfred Health Guidelines on requirements for consent to hospital autopsy are available through Prompt. Please consult these guidelines to ensure appropriate processes are followed. Consent to Removal of Organs/Tissue after Death and Non-Coronial Autopsies
In summary: A hospital post-mortem examination CANNOT be performed if:
a) the death is a reportable death to the Coroner. The Coroner must be notified via telephone (1300 309 519 all hours) of a reportable death and a deposition completed; see Deaths to be Notified to Coroner – Reportable & Reviewable Deaths
b) the medical practitioner has reason to believe that the deceased person had not expressed a wish for, or consented to, or had expressed an objection to, a post-mortem examination of his body;
c) the senior available next of kin refuses to consent to a post-mortem.
In case (b) / (c), only the Coroner can authorise a post-mortem.
Important Note: What a hospital autopsy doesn’t do
- Make the Hospital Responsible for Burial or Cremation: It is import next of kin understand that consenting to a hospital autopsy does not make the hospital responsibile for burial or cremation of the deceased. Funeral arrangements, including burial or cremation of the body, remain the responsibility of the family even when an autopsy is performed.
- Apportion Blame or Determine Malpractice: A hospital autopsy is not a forensic examination into the circumstances of a death. A hospital post-mortem will not examine the appropriateness of medical care, apportion blame or determine medical malpractice. This is not the nature or intention of a hospital autopsy.