Essay: The Only Acceptable Option

Posted by on Jun 11, 2016 in Bereavement, Blog, Cancer, Essays | No Comments
Essay:  The Only Acceptable Option

Joe and his wife, Carla, talked about it when she got the news – she didn’t want chemo. She didn’t want chemicals to destroy her body. She made that clear to Joe. Her father went through something awful when he got cancer and she just didn’t believe in those poisons. And they had done their […]

New Procedure: Small Incision Autopsy

Posted by on May 20, 2016 in Bereavement, Blog, Education, News | No Comments
New Procedure:  Small Incision Autopsy

We’re now offering an autopsy whose sole purpose is to provide families with information about inherited conditions: The Small Incision Autopsy. Our over-riding goal is to provide families with closure after a loss. Generally, this means understanding why the patient died. But it can also mean explaining what may have caused troubling symptoms, assessing changes […]

The Independent Autopsy or Private Autopsy – and Your Rights

Posted by on Sep 1, 2015 in Bereavement, Blog, Education, Essays | No Comments
The Independent Autopsy or Private Autopsy – and Your Rights

Most people understand that autopsies can be performed by the hospital or by the coroner (or medical examiner). In the first instance, the usual story is that the patient has died in the hospital. Then the hospital (or health care provider) may ask the family to authorize an autopsy. The purpose of the autopsy is […]

The Autopsy: An Emotional Choice

Posted by on Jul 22, 2015 in Bereavement, Blog, Essays | No Comments
The Autopsy:  An Emotional Choice

For the family, requesting an autopsy is always an emotional choice. I don’t mean that the family is always upset when they request an autopsy. I mean that the request is always based on some emotional need for closure. This is in some ways different from what motivates physicians and hospitals to request autopsies (although […]

Loss Twice: Death in the Hospital

Posted by on Jul 18, 2015 in Bereavement, Blog, Essays | No Comments
Loss Twice:  Death in the Hospital

The hospital is a paradox. Even for a long stay, many relationships can be fleeting: Who is the phlebotomist today? What resident will be seeing me? Patients (and their families) may wonder these and other like questions. If the hospital experience has lasted months — with surgeries, ICU stays, complications, and medical twists and turns […]

Should you say “I’m sorry for your loss”?

Posted by on Feb 12, 2015 in Bereavement, Blog | No Comments
Should you say “I’m sorry for your loss”?

This question – whether or not it is appropriate to say “I’m sorry for your loss” to a grieving family member — is one I’ve heard explicitly raised by a variety of professionals. For example, a resident tasked with providing a family with autopsy results was simply unsure of how to begin the conversation; and […]