Autopsy (also known as necropsy or post mortem examination) is a surgical procedure that consists of the examination of tissues and organs of a corpse to determine the cause and the manner of death. Having in view the medical and judiciary purpose and relevance of this procedure, a distinction between pathology autopsy and forensic autopsy must be made. Pathology autopsy is directly conditioned by the deceased’s consent expressed during her/his life or by her/his family’s consent. Consent is not required for autopsy in some countries, but families may object to non-forensic autopsies. Survivors may also sue for damages based on their mental anguish for autopsies that were performed without legal approval or that were more extensive than authorized.
Forensic autopsy is carried out when legal authorities explicitly ask for it in the limited situations indicated by the criminal law (violent death, death of unknown causes, suspicious/sudden death). Forensic autopsy is undoubtedly a social...
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