From the Director’s Desk

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Our on-line Q & A series for the public continues with another event scheduled for Tuesday, September 22 at 12 noon central time. Please join us for our live-response session held on our Facebook page. The topic for this event is infectious disease death. If you know someone who has died from a pneumonia or has had bed sore , or have other questions related to infections and the autopsy — or just want to follow along — please join us. The event will begin with a short video showing a dissection of a spleen, one of the organs participating in the body’s defense against infections. We look forward to your questions and participation this Tuesday. Just go to our Facebook page and the event will be right there.

Last month’s Q & A covered cardiac death. Thanks to everyone for participating. If you missed the on-line event, please feel free to check out our brief video showing a dissection of a coronary artery; and view the Q & A thread here. And be sure to join us on Tuesday, September 22 at noon to catch the next Q & A.

There is little in the medical literature written about the role of autopsy in bereavement. Usually, it’s just a few words — “provides closure” or “helps the family during grief” — in a more general article about the autopsy. The procedure developed historically from medical science and the explorations of inquisitive physicians. It makes sense that most written information about the autopsy centers on case medical findings. While the end-point of the autopsy – inventorying medical conditions and making sense of the cause of death — remains, the procedure’s meaning to the family penetrates deeply on an emotional level, often touching on a lifetime of relationships. Read my piece, The Autopsy: An Emotional Choice, which explores one son’s experience with an autopsy and see what you think.

Best for the fall.


Ben Margolis, M.D.