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Pediatric Autopsy

The Pediatric & Perinatal Pathology Service at Jackson Health System/Holtz Children’s Hospital provides autopsy services for in house as well as for outside institutions. Our service is run by highly-trained pediatric pathologists who are available to the region for comprehensive fetal and perinatal postmortem examinations through the age of 18 years old.

Routine autopsies are generally performed Monday through Friday during usual working hours. A representative from the outlying institution should call our Pathology Customer Care group at (305-243-7284) to discuss any cases under consideration for an autopsy and to arrange appropriate transfer of records and paperwork prior to the transportation of the patient. Autopsies requiring immediate attention i.e. concern for a metabolic cause of death should be discussed with the Director, Dr. Saad (mobile: 904-610-6580; e-mail: AXS3162@MED.MIAMI.EDU), for proper planning. Genetic testing, while often important in understanding the cause of fetal or perinatal death, is not included with the autopsy. Genetic testing can be requested separately by completing a genetic testing requisition. The requesting physician should fill out the form completely prior to the autopsy in order to avoid delays or inability to complete the testing. 

The outlying institution will be responsible for transporting the patient to and from our location, including back to the outlying institution or funeral home after completion of the autopsy. The outlying institution is also responsible for ensuring that the body has appropriate identifying information (at least two patient identifiers) upon arrival at our morgue. The body will not be accepted to the morgue and no autopsy can be performed without appropriate identifying information.

Paperwork 

  • All autopsy forms must be completed prior to transport for the initiation of the service. 
  • A form – providing the pathology department with names, addresses, phone/fax numbers of physicians who will receive copies or the reports, and who may be contacted in the cases requiring additional information – is also required.
  • Clinical information about the patient (as well as the mother in the case of fetal and perinatal cases) is also required. Medical records of the labor and delivery, prenatal care, ultrasound reports, and prenatal testing is essential. In addition, clinical notes are also requested if the infant was admitted.
  • Examination of the placenta is an essential component in fetal and perinatal deaths. A placental worksheet and placenta (fresh or in formalin) are requested in all fetal and perinatal cases. If the placenta has been previously examined at the outside institution, we request that slides (recut or original), a pathology report, and placental fragments be sent to us at the time of the postmortem examination.

Charges

  • Fees are structured competitively and are based on the type of autopsy performed. Specific charges can be obtained upon request.
  • Any specific laboratory testing requiring an outside reference lab will not be done unless previously discussed with the appropriate representatives from the outside institution and an agreement of payment has been reached.
  • Radiographic imaging is not considered routine practice at our institution. In cases where X-rays are considered an essential component of the autopsy, our Radiology Department will perform these studies for additional fees. These additional charges will be passed to your institution as part of the autopsy service.

Reports

  • A preliminary autopsy report is generated within 2 working days of the autopsy dissection and will be faxed to the designated office or personnel at the outside institution.
  • A final autopsy report will be complete within 60 workdays and will be faxed to the designated office or personnel at the outside institution.

Transporting Bodies to Our Facility for Postmortem Examination

  • The outlying hospital is responsible for arranging transportation of the body to our facility. After completion of the autopsy, our morgue attendant will notify the funeral home to arrange for a pickup time.