BARBARA CRAIN, MD, PhD
DEPARTMENT OF PATHOLOGY
Preliminary autopsy results are available by telephone the same day as the autopsy. Physicians whose pager numbers are on the consent form will be contacted. Other physicians may speak to the autopsy prosector by paging the autopsy resident on call (3-9482). The provisional diagnoses are available in EPR by the third workday after the autopsy. The final diagnoses are generally available by telephone in 2-4 weeks. The final autopsy report is usually in EPR within 6 weeks.
Autopsy reports are NOT automatically mailed to the next of kin. In general, it is best if a physician who knows the patient and the family discusses the autopsy results with them. However, the autopsy report is part of the medical record and may be requested by the next of kin either at the time of autopsy (by completing the appropriate section of the autopsy consent form) or by calling the Autopsy Office at a later date (calling directly to 410-955-3510 or calling the main switchboard at 410-955-5000 and asking for the Autopsy Office).
IS THIS DEATH REPORTABLE TO THE MEDICAL EXAMINER?
The Postmortem Examiners’ Commission, pursuant to Maryland Statute §5-309, has developed the following guidelines for deaths to be reported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The following categories of death are reportable to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner regardless of where or when the initial injury event occurred. In addition, Hopkins policy is to report all deaths in the Emergency Department. The phone number is 410-333-3271.
- Any death that occurs suddenly and unexpectedly; that is, when the person has not been under medical care for significant heart, lung, or other disease.
- Any death suspected to be due to violence; that is, suicidal, accidental or homicidal.
- Any death suspected to be due to alcohol or drug intoxication or the result of exposure to other toxic agents.
- Any death of a resident housed in county or state institution. This refers to any ward or individual placed in such a facility by legal authorization.
- Any death of a person in the custody of law enforcement officers.
- Any death occurring in a nursing home or other private institution without recent medical attendance.
- Any death that occurs unexpectedly during, in association with, or as a result of, diagnostic, therapeutic, surgical, or anesthetic procedures.
- Any death suspected to be involved with the decedent’s occupation.
- Any death which is possibly directly or indirectly attributable to environmental exposure not otherwise specified.
- Any death due to neglect.
- Any stillbirth of 20 or more weeks gestation unattended by a physician.
- Any death of a pregnant woman regardless of the gestation period.
- Any death of an infant or child where the medical history has not established some pre-existing fatal medical condition.
- Any death which is suspected to be due to infectious or contagious disease wherein the diagnosis and extent of disease at the time are undetermined.
- Any death occurring under suspicious circumstances.
- Any death in which there is doubt as to whether or not it is a medical examiner’s case should be reported.