Name ______Date ______Period ______# ______

Autopsy Internet Lesson

Part I

What is an autopsy?

How long after a person dies does an autopsy generally occur?

What types of autopsies are there and who performs each type? (Hint: There are two distinctly different types.)

List and describe the three levels of autopsy.




What other types of examination may be necessary in an autopsy if it is warranted?

In what type of circumstance may an autopsy not be necessary for a medical examiner/forensic pathologist/coroner to perform?

Why are autopsies performed?

What are the forensic benefits to using autopsy?

Who typically performs an autopsy?

Part II

In each of the following a description of the steps of an autopsy has been provided. Please fill in the missing components.

1. External Exam- examine ______characteristics listed, body is measured and weighed, close attention is paid to clothing and any unusual ______, look for ______, bruises, tattoos, and other distinguishing marks, test for rigor mortis (movable or immovable joints), and look for ______(blood pooling) as a means of determining ______

2. Internal Exam

A. Make the ______(deep)

B. Saw off ribs and sternal plate to expose underlying organs

C. Remove organs using the ______method (remove all at once in a block- the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and spleen- then individually dissect those organs of concern). Tissue samples and blood samples may also be taken if the forensic pathologist feels it is necessary for the autopsy. These samples would be withdrawn carefully and sent to a laboratory for analysis and the making of microscopic slides (microscopics).

D. Removal of the ______(optional)- Cut with scalpel from back of scalp from one ear to ear, separate scalp from skull and pull it forward, remove top of skull with vibrating saw, and lift brain out of cranial vault. The brain is then cut or placed into formalin so that the tissues can be fixed.

E. Weigh the organs (all but intestines and stomach).

F. Return organs to the body and fill body cavity with fixative and sew it up.

3. Analysis of tissue samples, toxicological results, and or microbiological (infectious agents) test

4. Determine the deceased cause of death (information placed on the death certificate)

Part III

The following list consists of tools/instruments which can be used during an autopsy. Please describe what each is used for.

Instruments used in autopsy

1.  Enterotome-

2.  Skull chisel-

3.  Surgeons needles-

4.  Rib cutters-

5.  Scalpel-

6.  Toothed forceps-

7.  Bone saw-

8.  Vibrating saw-