An autopsy is an in-depth examination of the outside but also the interior of a deceased’s body. It can be done as part of a judicial investigation or as a result of a natural death.
What is an autopsy?
An autopsy, also known as necropsy, is a medical exam of bodies. This is a diagnostic medical act, which happens after death (natural or not) whose causes and circumstances are not well known.
It includes technical gestures, but it is also an opportunity to take various samples for further examinations.
Also, it should be noted that medical students can practice autopsies (on bodies of people by giving permission in their lives), to learn human anatomy.
The different types of autopsy
There are two types of autopsy, each framed differently:
Forensic or judicial autopsy, which is regulated by the Code of Criminal Procedure;
and the medical or medical autopsy, which is under the supervision of the Public Health Code.
The medical autopsy? scabbage (or judicial)
It is carried out to investigate the causes and circumstances of a suspect death in an investigation. The goal is to seek the involvement of a third party in the process that led to death.
She is practiced in a forensic institute, at the request of the magistrate in charge of the investigation. A medical examiner is in charge of it.
It should be noted that because technological developments - in genetics, imaging, etc - have made a significant progress in diagnosing a diagnosis, the number of suspected deaths is decreasing and thus the number of medico-scientific autopsy as well. This is anyway the case in Europe.
Medical autopsy (or scientific)
It only concerns deaths of natural death. The goal is to confirm, nurse or even diagnose the death of a sick person. And it is by studying the different lesions that this is possible.
It takes place in a reference centre, at the request of a doctor. And it’s an anatomopathologist or pathologist who takes care of it.
It helps to help the deceased’s loved ones better understand what happened and overcome grief. Also, it can discover or specify the diagnosis of genetic diseases that may affect the descendants of the deceased.
Out of an autopsy
During a forensic autopsy, the forensic doctor:
starts with a meticulous description of the body;
Practicing dissection of the chest cavity, abdominal, cervical region and cranial dick;
examines viscers previously removed from natural cavities.
It analyzes the samples taken - whether it’s fluids, hair, tissues or whole organs:
virologic or bacteriological examination;
genetic analysis, etc.
At the end of the autopsy, the forensic doctor reports an oral report to the investigators and the magistrate responsible for the file and writes a detailed written report. In conclusion, he clarifies the cause of death if possible and points out the possible involvement of a third party.
During a medical autopsy, the anatomopathologist also performs an in-depth external and internal examination. The organs of the whole body are also being examined. The doctor can remove a fragment from each of them, for example after the microscope.
The goal is to answer questions doctors who asked for autopsy: is there an infection, malignant tumor, genetic disease, neurological disease, hereditary disease, etc???
Can we oppose an autopsy?
Since forensic autopsy is required by the Prosecutor of the Republic and ordered by the magistrate in charge of the investigation, it is not possible to oppose it.
On the other hand, the medical autopsy (which is not ordered as part of a judicial then, but to get the diagnosis on the causes of a death) can be refused, if the deceased informed in his lifetime that he was opposed to such an act.