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When does an autopsy take place?

Published: August 30, 2021

Autopsies are done to determine the cause of death when a person dies unexpectedly, such as in a car accident or drowning. If the state determines that there needs to be further exploration into how a person died, then the appointed Medical Examiner will perform an autopsy. It can take up to six weeks to receive the results of an autopsy.

An autopsy can vary in level from full to selective, which can influence the turnaround time for results. A full autopsy is when the entire body is examined, where a selective autopsy focuses on selective organs. It may be required to have a toxicology test performed to determine if there were any substances within the deceased system.

A family is allowed to request an autopsy. This will lead to a review of the case, and the state will determine whether or not to proceed with the autopsy. If the autopsy request is denied, the family can proceed with a private autopsy. For a private autopsy, the family would need to hire a qualified medical professional, such as a medical examiner or forensic pathologist.

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