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Is an Autopsy necessary?

An autopsy is not necessary in every case.

  • Each death investigated by the Mesa County Coroner’s Office undergoes review of the circumstances surrounding the death, medical record review and interviews of family members.
  • Some of these deaths can be released directly to a funeral home without an autopsy especially in the deaths of individuals who have a significant medical history and there was nothing of concern to suggest a non-natural death at the scene of death.
  • It is the Coroner and their office personnel who decide if an autopsy will be performed.

When is an autopsy required?

Coroner determines when an autopsy is required. 

  • It is important for the Coroner to bring their medical experience to each case along with all the findings when determining if an autopsy is required.
  • An autopsy can be requested but it is ultimately the decision of the Coroner if an autopsy will be performed.
    • Law enforcement
    • District attorney’s office
    • Family of the deceased.
    • Most would consider it important to consider other people’s wishes when deciding on the autopsy.
  • Autopsy is considered a public service performed by the Mesa County Coroner’s Office
  • Results of the autopsy can not only be important to answer questions.
    • For law enforcement officials and family.
    • For public health data.
  • Autopsies should be performed by
    • Board certified forensic pathologists,
    • Professionals who have undergone extensive training to do this task.
  • If the Coroner’s Office decides against doing an autopsy,
    • Family can request a “private autopsy” be performed by groups such as The Pathology Group, PC.