About Autopsy Center of Chicago

The Autopsy Center provides compassionate, comprehensive, caring autopsy service for families in bereavement.

Casework is meticulous and interactions with families are warm and emotionally available. We work to transform the confusing into the clear; the uncertain into the manageable; the unknown into the known. The founder, Dr. Ben Margolis, received his B.A. from Harvard University and his M.D. from the University of Chicago.

The need for closure after a loss is powerful; and you have the right to ask questions. Talk to us about how we can help.

Read more About the Center….

Meet Dr. Ben Margolis, Director
(Click on video below)

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The Autopsy: An Emotional Choice.

Autopsy emotions
July 22, 2014. Do you think the autopsy is strictly a technical procedure? Why do families want them? Are they looking for just the facts or is there something else going on that drives the request? Follow “David” as he makes his request and read Dr. Margolis’s insight into the autopsy process.
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Loss Twice: Death in the Hospital.

Hospital death relationships
July 18, 2015. Death is hard for the family, regardless. What happens if death occurs after a long hospitalization? Are you a provider? Are you a phlebotomist? Think you haven’t played a role for the family? Read Dr. Margolis’s view of what families go through.
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Monthly Case: Aortic Rupture.

July 15, 2015. Last month we asked you to puzzle over a case of an elderly man with hip pain. The autopsy showed that the hip pain was not from arthritis but from the pressure of blood escaping from a ruptured aorta.
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Meeting the Man on the Table.

June 17, 2015.
Man on the Table
Our tumor donation program has changed the emotional resonance of some of our cases. On the one hand, the purpose of the Tumor Donation autopsy is not for family closure, but to help find the cure for cancer. On the other hand, organizing Tumor Donation means we meet our patients while they are still living to discuss the donation process. Dr. Margolis writes a reflection on this May’s Tumor Donation. (Photo is internet image, not actual patient.)
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Autopsy Center Talks Sounds of Death

May 1, 2015.

View accompanying image here. Listen to a segment from this weeks Seminar with Dr. Margolis. Is this part of the process of dying? Should caretakers “do something” about it? Take a listen.

Museum Anatomic Gifts

April 26, 2015. Do you think families should be given the option of donating organs and tissue for a museum display? What are the ethics of this choice? Is informed consent sufficient? Tell us what you think. Read more here.Canopic Jars

Sleuth It with Autopsy Center: Case of Tendon Repair

April 11, 2015. Try your sleuthing skills and following along with this case discussion. Was this a “minor operation” unrelated to the loss? Did something more serious happen in the operating room? Or something else? Read more and post your thoughts here.

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Please check back for listing of summer 2015 events.


In the News

WSJ photo March, 2015 “What Autopsies Can Teach” Dr. Margolis intervied by
The Wall Street Journal. Author: Melinda Beck. Read article.

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From the Director’s Desk

July, 2015

Our work expanding outreach with high school students continues. On June 24, I joined high school students from across the country participating in the National Youth Leadership Forum, Medicine subcategory. We met at the University of Chicago’s Reva and David Logan Center of the Arts for a real-time discussion of an autopsy case, broadcast simultaneously to students at partnering universities across the country; and I lead a follow-up Q&A. Apart from some expected squirms from a few corners, students were interested in career paths towards autopsy pathology, forensics, and medicine; had insightful questions relating to the role of autopsy in bereavement vs. malpractice; and were generally enthusiastic inquiring about the ins and outs, hand on and emotional experience of autopsy casework. Thanks to Envision for the invitation to participate.

We are looking forward to engaging high schoolers this fall with live-feed, on-line events. Educational professionals interested in setting up video seminars for the fall or beyond should feel free to be in touch.

Through our responses on Facebook and Twitter, we find that our adult readers and followers have a great interest in understanding and viewing the body as seen at the time of autopsy. We appreciate the curiosity and make an effort to balance our educational offerings with sensitivity to families looking to us during their difficult time. Please feel free to forward feedback on how we are doing.

Read more here.


Ben Margolis, M.D.