About Autopsy Center of Chicago

The Autopsy Center provides compassionate, comprehensive, caring 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. Read more About the Center….

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The Autopsy Center engages in legislative advocacy, scientific research, and educational outreach to support the community.

Attend our critically acclaimed event for the public: Science to Humanity: The Autopsy. Join Dr. Margolis for a slideshow and discussion about the autopsy. Learn how the body changes with illness, how the procedure is performed and, above all, how the results bring a family to a place of peace. Tickets/Information/ Reviews

Latest News, Events and Articles


9/23/14 Monthly Case: Second lung cancer Read about a patient who had two lung cancers. The family was told the first cancer was “cured” but then there was a second cancer. Should the family be concerned about their loved one’s treatment? Does it matter that the first lung cancer was ten years prior? Read more.

9/17/14 Legislative Update: HB5348: Crib Bumper Pad Ban An Illinois state ban on crib bumper pads nears passage. Its enactment promotes infant safety. Summary opinion: Ready for passage. By Rabiya Bilfaqi, DePaul Univ. College of Law student. Read more.

8/16/14  10 Questions for Cancer. Autopsy Center is establishing a community-based Tumor Donation Program. Tumor Donation allows patients with cancer to donate their tumor to research and make a difference for the next generation. We appreciate your input as we undertake this important work. Let us know your thoughts by taking our 10-question survey. Thank you for participating.
10 Questions for Cancer

8/10/14 Monthly case:  Fungal abscess  This month’s case focuses on a lung infection treated as a pneumonia but found at autopsy to be abscess caused by fungus.  Read how the new information impacted on a family looking for answers.  Read more.

8/6/14  Short Fiction  Read Dr. Margolis’s short fiction “What’s Wrong with You” published this August in the medical-literary journal, Ars Medica.  Buckle in for a journey that blends the poignant and the fantastic (caution graphic).  Read more.

7/26/14 Monthly case: Blocked stent This month’s case focuses on one finding in a patient with a very serious blood disease called S-C disease. While the finding did not cause the patient’s death, it helped the family complete their understand of the loved one’s medical condition. Read more.

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In the News

NBC 5 Investigates SIU death
Interview with Dr. Margolis
October 7, 2014
Click here for video.

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January, 2014. “Margolis pays special attention to the family’s story and concerns…. “I never really thought about what an autopsy can do for a family,” [an attendee at Science to Humanity: The Autopsy] said. “I never saw the emotional aspect.” Read the complete article written by Life Matters Media.


May, 2013 “…the top expert in Chicago” “…sensitive” “…impartial” Read about Dr. Margolis in the May, 2013 issue of Chicago Magazine, “This Is What Really Happens During an Autopsy.”

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Tumor Donation Program: The Autopsy Center is working to provide an option for cancer patients to donate tumor tissue to research. The idea is similar to that of organ or tissue donor. But instead of donating an organ or tissue to help a sick person “right now,” tumor tissue is donated to research to help the next generation. Read more….

From the Director’s Desk

September, 2014
At Autopsy Center, we believe that an autopsy is performed for the living — we see that its role in bereavement is profound.  Because the patient, family and healthcare system are all interwoven, there is much to be learned from an autopsy.  With this in mind, we often welcome students during cases.  We have had a range attend - from nursing students to funeral directing students to high schoolers.  It’s a fascinating experience not only from the point of view of medicine and anatomy, but from a bereavement context and a health-system perspective.  Because we so deeply value education, we are opening up our practice more formally to student observers.  Nursing students and some health professionals-in-training will be welcome to attend cases.  Please contact us directly through our contact form with inquiries and stay tuned for updates.

Read about Illinois’s 2014 legislative initiative to ban crib bumper pads (HB 5348).  DePaul University College of Law student Rabiya Bilfaqi, the Center’s 2014 summer intern, provides an insightful presentation of the bill.

We are continuing our work on a Tumor Donation Program which be integrated into the community.  Please help us learn more about your views and interest by taking our brief survey, 10 Questions for Cancer.

Our event, Science to Humanity:  The Autopsy is going.  Our next dates are Wednesday September 24, October 22 and October 29.

Ben Margolis, M.D. Director