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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Tumor Donation for Cancer Research

Autopsy Center is currently enrolling a small number of patients with end-stage cancer in our Tumor Donation Program. Enrollment is currently limited to patients in hospice near death. Interested families should contact us at 855-8-AUTOPSY ext. 2

Learn more….

Latest News, Events and Articles


2/14/15 Should you say “I’m sorry for your loss”? Not sure what to say when you meet someone right after they’ve suffered a loss? Worried about etiquette or what’s ok to share? You’re not alone — especially among young professionals. Read Dr. Margolis’s take on saying “I’m sorry for your loss” here.

2/14/15 Monthly Case – Uremic Pericarditis This case illustrates a known, but not well understood complication of kidney failure. The patient developed kidney failure as a complication of antibiotic therapy used for a post-operative infection. View the case.

1/3/15 New Seminar: Incisions and Insights: Autopsy After Surgery Our series, “Autopsy Center Presents” continues at the International Museum of Surgical Science.  Our new event, Incisions and Insights follows our critically acclaimed introductory seminar, Science to Humanity: The AutopsyIncisions and Insights focuses solely on autopsies when the death occurs during or after a surgery (or procedure).  Join Dr. Margolis for a in-depth and balanced exploration of what becomes of lives placed in the hands of our most trusted physicians — surgeons.  Come armed with curiosity and questions for a journey below the staple line.

Tickets & Information

12/29/14 Monthly Case: Undiagnosed Pancreatic Cancer This patient died of cancer and no one knew where the cancer started. The autopsy showed it started in the pancreas. Learn how the findings shed light on the patient’s clinical events and diagnosis. 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

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In the News & Events

February, 2015 Update on SIU death at the one year mark. Dr. Margolis’s autopsy case report noted in ongoing case investigation. Read more.

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January, 2015 “In Light Of Possible Abuse At Body Donation Centers, Experts Offer Advice.” Dr. Margolis interviewed on how families can protect themselves and their loved one when exploring body donation options. Read the complete article.

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October 18, 2014
Morton Grove press conference on SIU student death.
Dr. Margolis discusses case.

October 7, 2014
NBC 5 Investigates SIU death
Interview with Dr. Margolis
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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From the Director’s Desk

February, 2015
Our Tumor Donation pilot program is underway. In February, we had our second family of 2015 donate cancer tissue to research. We retrieved a portion of metastatic prostate cancer by directed autopsy. Our first case in 2015 provided tissue from a patient with lung cancer. Patients with any type or cancer may choose to donate. The goal of the pilot is to obtain tissue from a small group of individuals and then reassess our program from a scientific and community-based perspective. We want to make sure our process supports the community and that the tissue is retrieved in a way that meets research standards. Please feel free to contact us to learn more.

Mark your calendar for our new seminar, Incisions and Insights: Autopsy After Surgery, Wednesday, February 25 at 7 pm at the International Museum of Surgical Science. This seminar focuses on autopsies when the death occurs during or after a surgery. Join me for an engaging and balanced perspective on this interesting topic. If you’ve attended our introductory seminar Science to Humanity, you’ll be well prepared for this next exploration. If you have not, please still feel free to come and learn, or to contact us with any questions beforehand. Next dates for Science to Humanity are March 18 and April 1.

Also in this Newsletter is a brief essay on the topic of “getting comfortable with grieving families.” While written somewhat for an audience of professionals, I hope the piece will be of general interest and give some insight into how I think about my work with families. Are you someone who says “I’m sorry for your loss?” How do you interact with someone in grief? Read about my approach here. And if you want to learn more about my philosophy, please join me at one of my seminars.


Ben Margolis, M.D.