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


3/21/15 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.

3/21/15 Monthly Case – Early Graft Closure This case was of a middle aged man who died two weeks after a coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Should the family suspect a surgical mishap? Was this the simply the body’s reaction to the procedure? Were there issues with care? Read more here.

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.

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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

In the News

imagesCAT49NJU March, 2015 Dr. Margolis intervied. “What Autopsies Can Teach” The Wall Street Journal. By Melinda Beck. Read article.

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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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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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Listen to Podcast – March 29, 2015

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April 1 Science to Humanity: The Autopsy 7 pm International Museum of Surgical Science
April 15 Incisions and Insights: Autopsy After Surgery 7 pm International Museum of Surgical Science
April 29 Science to Humanity: The Autopsy 7pm International Museum of Surgical Science
May 6 Science to Humanity: The Autopsy 7pm International Museum of Surgical Science

From the Director’s Desk

March, 2015
View today’s Q&A here.
Join me on-line this Tuesday March 24 at 9:30 am for a Q&A forum for the general public. All are welcome. This is an opportunity to ask whatever it is that you’d like know about my practice, my experience providing autopsy service to families, my case work and whatever else you are curious about. Chances are, someone else will be curious, too. This morning event is in collaboration with Life Matters Media. Click here for details on how to find us on-line, or check in on Facebook or twitter for details on the day of the event.

Learn more about autopsies in this month’s piece in The Wall Street Journal, called “What Autopsies Can Teach.” I talked to the WSJ along with a broad range of national experts. The piece provides a balanced and engaging view of the state of autopsy practice in the U.S. in 2015.

Autopsy Center now offers two events for the general public at the International Museum of Surgical Science. Our introductory class, Science to Humanity, coming up April 1 is nearing sold out, so please feel free to register here. Our more advanced and faster paced class covering autopsy after surgery, Incisions and Insights, is coming up April 15. I hope we’ll see you at one of these events.

As with all caregiving, end-of-life work requires a balance. Autopsy Center encourages creative and healthy self-care for providers, and wishes strength to families working through the grief process. My poem, “Mariner” is now published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. I hope you enjoy the piece.


Ben Margolis, M.D.