Frequently Asked Questions

Who is qualified to perform an autopsy on my loved one?

In short, a board-certified pathologist.

When you choose somebody to perform an autopsy on your loved one, it should be performed by a physician who is board-certified by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic Pathology, Clinical Pathology, and Forensic Pathology.  But what does that mean?

In a doctor’s long journey through schooling, he must not only graduate from medical school. He also needs to complete residency training in his specified medical field (for example, pathology) and a fellowship to further specialize in a more specific medical field (again, in this case, forensic pathology). But, is this even enough?

The short answer is no.

Completing this training simply allows the doctor to become eligible for taking the board exams in these fields of medicine and, if he passes these rigorous exams, will then be deemed board-certified.  But, is this enough?

Not exactly.

The American Board of Pathology now requires diplomates (board-certified doctors) to maintain their certification by completing at least 35 hours of annual education credits, obtaining recommendations from their peers, and passing patient safety training (and the list goes on).

Doctors without board-certification failed their board exams and/or refused to take them. They also aren’t required to show that they are competent to practice medicine. In most states, a doctor without certification cannot obtain a permanent medical license to practice. Sadly, in Colorado, this isn’t true.

In this day and age, nearly every practicing pathologist is board-certified. However, some are not and fly under the radar, hoping to trick people into thinking they are qualified to be practicing medicine.

If you are seeking a pathologist to perform an autopsy on your loved one, your first step should be to confirm that the doctor is a board-certified physician.

Only then can you trust the results of the postmortem exam.

Our group features triple board-certified pathologists who will provide your family with accurate, timely results. When it comes to finding important answers, always go with the best.

© 2020 by Postmortem Pathology Services. Inc.