What is a post-mortem?

A post-mortem examination is the surgical examination of the body of the deceased person which will usually involve a pathologist examining the internal organs of the body as well as any external injuries. The pathologist will attempt to leave no visible signs of such an examination once this has been completed.

After the post-mortem examination, decisions may need to be made regarding what should happen to the removed organs and tissue samples. If a post-mortem examination is required, you should contact the hospital or the coroner’s service regarding what you may expect and what your rights are.

Do I need to consent to conduct a post-mortem?

Consent is not required, however, it is procedure that before commencing a post-mortem the coroner must first advise the deceased person’s family that a post-mortem is to be performed and the reasons for it. They will also advise the family that they can obtain a copy of the pathologist's report when the post-mortem has been completed.

Who pays for a post-mortem?

If the coroner orders the post-mortem it will be paid for by the state. If the deceased died in the hospital, the hospital authority will pay for the post-mortem. If requested outside of these circumstances, the family/estate will need to pay the associated costs.

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