Home > Formalities > When a Post-Mortem is Needed

When a Post-Mortem is Needed

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 27 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Death suspicious Death death

Post mortem examinations are medical examinations of a body usually carried out in order to investigate the cause of the deceased’s death. In the UK, if a death is being treated as suspicious, the deceased’s body will be referred to the coroner for further investigation. If this happens, the proper authorities will likely register the death, but there may be a delay in when the family can bury or cremate their loved one’s remains. Only when the post mortem examination is finished and the coroner issues proper certificates allowing burial or cremation may the body be taken away and prepared according to the family’s wishes.

Information from Post Mortem Examinations

Post mortem examinations provide a wealth of information about how the deceased passed away. This information can be useful to the police or other investigators in the case of a crime, but it can also be very useful to families who should know the medical history of their loved one, and if his or her ill health was the cause of death. If such is the case, then the information gleaned from a post mortem may also help medical staff who cared for the deceased better care for similar cases in the future. This abundance of information comes from the fact that post mortems can reveal the cause of death, any illness from which an individual was suffering and/or conditions which may never have been diagnosed while the deceased was alive. The results of these examinations can also provide even further information, such as how specific medication was affecting the course of a disease in this specific case, or if there were any unknown or unnoticed side effects or complications from the course of treatment. Sometimes this information can also be used in medical research or education.

Carrying Out Post Mortem Examinations

Post mortem examinations are usually carried out within three days of the death. If the deceased left instructions that (s)he did not want a post mortem, or that (s)he wanted a particular type of post mortem, then these wishes should be made known immediately and the family and authorities will need to take this information into account. If a post mortem must be carried out more quickly for religious reasons (such as within 24 hours of the death), this should be disclosed immediately as well. As these examinations include both external and internal investigations, they are carried out similarly to an operation. Post mortems will not leave the deceased unable to be viewed after the procedure, and often the face, hands and feet are left untouched. Open casket viewings and/or funerals may still occur after such a procedure. Post mortems take place in a mortuary, and if anything extensive must occur – such as an organ needing to be kept for examination – it will be discussed with the family.

After Post Mortem Examinations

When a post mortem is complete and the body can be released to the family, the coroner will issue proper certification allowing for a burial or cremation to commence. Unless the deceased left strict instructions that the post mortem results should remain confidential, anything discovered in the examination can usually be reported to the family. This final report is usually available within a month of the examination being completed. Most GPs will be available to discuss the findings contained in these reports in a scheduled appointment.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Only son
    Re: Executing a Will
    Dad died leaving me 1/2 house in will. Other 1/2 and &80k to Mum. But solicitor making wills 10 years ago did not change house deeds from joint…
    17 November 2019
  • Tiddles
    Re: The Rights to Obtain a Headstone?
    Can my client put a grave stone on her sons grave or even can her grandson do it as it was his dad
    15 November 2019
  • Edy
    Re: The Rights to Obtain a Headstone?
    My brother paased away 2 years ago and his live in girlfriend handled the funeral. She never paid for the funeral or the…
    14 November 2019
  • Suzi
    Re: Questionnaire: Do You Need Bereavement Counselling?
    My father has only recently passed away. I did get the chance to see him before, but for the last 3…
    9 November 2019
  • Joe Joe
    Re: Dealing With Inheritance Tax
    Hello I am concerned about my uncle who is 91 years old. I need help finding out if my sister who does not live with him and I…
    28 October 2019
  • Gav
    Re: Coping with Multiple Deaths
    Hi, I think I need help, since one of my best friends commited suicide 3 years ago, I have lost a further 11 friends and family…
    27 October 2019
  • Mack
    Re: Purchasing a Burial Plot
    My wife bought a cemetery plot,she went to the cemetery last week,and another person had been buried in the plot...is this illegal
    22 October 2019
  • Confused
    Re: Inheriting Property
    My mother who is still alive put my sisters nane on her house. She has said she is giving her the house because my sister has never left the…
    21 October 2019
  • MPS
    Re: Bereavement Payment
    I cremated my son who was 37 I am 58 and I am on sick and my work company dose not pay sick pay can I apply for breavement pay
    21 October 2019
  • Miller
    Re: What if There is No Will?
    My father as died leaving me his house and all belongings, thers only me his daughter im an only child, my dad did not make a will so…
    16 October 2019