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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May 1, 2015 Autopsy Center talks Sounds of Death

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.

April 26, 2015 Museum Anatomical Gifts in 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
April 11, 2015 Sleuth It with Autopsy Center. Case of Tendon Repair. 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.

April 6, 2015 Legislative Update. HB4054 Coroner Training Board Act. Illinois’s new legislative initiative to improve coroner training standards is commendable. However, the bill incorporates a waiver process for experience that will slow the movement towards broad state-wide training standards. Summary opinion: Not ready for passage. Read the commentary here.

April 5, 2015 Monthly Case: Hypertensive Heart Disease This month’s case features an audio discussion recorded live at ourAutopsy Seminar on April 1, 2015.

Click here to listen and view case image.

March 21, 2015 Poem – “Mariner” Entering the body for an autopsy is a precise, medical procedure with scientific purpose. Nonetheless, the soul and spirit of this profound human experience float in the air of the autopsy suite. Journey into the body and into harrowing waters with Dr. Margolis’s poem “Mariner.” Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association this month.

February 14, 2015 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.

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In the News

WSJ photo March, 2015 Dr. Margolis interviewed. “What Autopsies Can Teach”
The Wall Street Journal. By Melinda Beck. Read article.

LMM organ donation photoJanuary, 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. Life Matters Media. By Dan Gaitan. Read the complete article.

Life Media Matters logo
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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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


May 27 Incisions and Insights: Autopsy After Surgery 7 pm International Museum of Surgical Science


From the Director’s Desk

April, 2015
With our welcome spring weather, and our transition out of cold, grey winter, I will take the opportunity to discuss the renewal we witness among our families. Many families come to us enveloped in grief, anger or guilt over a loss. We know that by talking with our families and sharing information, it can get better. Some of our cases in 2015 have included sudden death, death after chronic illness, death after undiagnosed illness, tumor donation, and so on. In each of these and other cases, the family’s commitment to their loved one has driven their need for closure. It has been a privilege to participate. Time and again, our families tell us they feel “at peace.” Information and compassion can be the starter soil for emotional renewal and growth after a loss. We are delighted to see our families move forward.

We would like to welcome Jennifer Beese, our social media consultant. Jennifer is an engaging young woman with a passion for the both social media and our work at Autopsy Center. Jennifer currently works at the social media group, Sprout Social. If you enjoy our e-Newsletter, please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Autopsy Center is expanding our case-request process. If you are thinking of requesting an autopsy or working with a family considering an autopsy, please download the “Questions for the Family” form, complete (or have the family complete) the form and fax it to us at 855-828-8677. This form covers basic questions that will help us address a family’s case needs. The form is not a substitute for our Authorization Form. Please let us know any feedback on our new form or any aspect of our service. We appreciate all input in our efforts to grow as a service.

Please also enjoy the Monthly Case in audio format, recorded during our event, Science to Humanity this month; and stay tuned for more audio excerpts. You can follow our audio segments on SoundCloud. And, of course, we hope to see you at one our upcoming events. Next event dates are April 29 and May 6 at the International Museum of Surgical Science.

Best for a happy and healthy spring.


Ben Margolis, M.D.