84-06 Death and autopsy procedures

(A)  Every member of the medical staff shall be actively interested in securing autopsies whenever possible. No autopsy shall be performed without written consent, permission, or direction as prescribed by the laws of Ohio.

(B)  All autopsies shall be performed by an attending pathologist with hospital privileges or other attending practitioner who is qualified to perform autopsies. The attending pathologist or his or her designee, who is appropriately credentialed by the hospital, shall have the responsibility of informing the patient's attending physician or designee, who is appropriately credentialed by the hospital, that a proper consent for the performance of an autopsy has been obtained. The anticipated time for the autopsy shall also be reported at this time.

(C)  Criteria for autopsy requests include the following:

(1)  Coroner's cases when the coroner elects not to perform an autopsy. The county coroner has jurisdiction for performing an autopsy when death is the result of violence, casualty, or suicide, or occurs suddenly in a suspicious or unusual manner. When the coroner elects not to perform an autopsy, a request for an autopsy shall be made pursuant to paragraph (A) of this rule.

(2)  Unexpected or unexplained deaths, where apparently due to natural causes or due to those occurring during or following any surgical, medical, or dental diagnostic procedures or therapies.

(3)  Undiagnosed infectious disease where results may be of value in treating close contacts.

(4)  All deaths in which the cause of death is not known with certainty on clinical grounds.

(5)  Cases where there is question of disease related to occupational exposure.

(6)  Organ donors (to rule out neoplastic or infectious disease).

(7)  Cases in which autopsy may help to allay the concerns of the family or public regarding the death and to provide assurance to them regarding the same.

(8)  Deaths in which autopsy may help to explain unknown or unanticipated medical complications to the attending.

(9)  Deaths of patients who have participated in investigational therapy protocols.

(10)  Deaths in which there is a need to enhance the education and knowledge of the medical staff and house staff. The attending practitioner shall be notified of the autopsies performed by the pathology department.

(D)  When an autopsy is performed, provisional anatomic diagnosis should be recorded in the medical record within three days and the complete protocol should be made a part of the record within sixty days.

(Board approval dates: 9/6/2002, 11/2/2007, 9/18/2009, 4/6/2016)