At times, a simple biopsy of a tissue can be performed. This is an example of a “partial autopsy.” If, for example, a cancer has not had a “tissue diagnosis,” a portion of the tissue can be retrieved and sent to the laboratory for analysis and diagnosis.
The Autopsy Center can perform many other tests:
- Testing for infectious diseases
- Brain tissue testing for Alzheimer’s disease
- Fluid chemistry testing
- Asbestos fiber testing
Please note: many tests performed after death can be less accurate than when performed during life; and require interpretation to know whether or not results are accurate. Often, results should be interpreted with caution, but sometimes these can be of help.
The Autopsy Center will assess exhumed bodies in certain circumstances. Please discuss your concerns and questions with the Autopsy Center
The Autopsy Center will work with the family to determine whether or not it is possible or necessary to access any remaining samples from when the patient was living.
If you think it may be useful to access specimens from a hospitalization, please contact us right away. Most hospitals will discard specimens after 7 days. After that point, the hospital specimen will no longer be available.
By policy, the Autopsy Center does not collect post-mortem DNA samples for general storage except in rare circumstances; and typically in conjunction with medical genetic counseling referrals.
Collection of samples for “posterity” is a service increasingly provided by many companies found on the web. The Autopsy Center appreciates the financial needs of its families and feels this is an additional expense that can be saved in many instances. Many new web sites offer “DNA cards” and charge the family for the collection and storage of a blood sample or cheek swab. Often these web sites claim to test for inherited diseases but will instead provide a DNA “fingerprint” which can only be used to identify the individual as a relative. Actual inherited disease testing is extremely expensive and is often not covered or performed by such companies despite their claims. An alternative for the family is to save a hair sample (including the root) from their loved one and store it a clean, dry place.
For a variety of services and testing options, please call us at 1-855-8-AUTOPSY.