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The Department of Pathology provides autopsy services for Boston Children’s Hospital patients. Autopsy Pathology is the arm of Anatomic Pathology that involves examination of the body after death in order to find out information about diseases present at the time of death and to harvest tissues for future research.

Autopsy examinations require the permission of the patient’s family or legal guardian and are conducted in a manner that accommodates their wishes.

A Boston Children’s Authorization for Performance of Autopsy form must be filled out and signed by the patient’s family or legal guardian and clinical caregivers before the procedure can be performed. The consent form is required for the autopsy of all patients regardless of where the patient dies and whether the patient was a prior Boston Children’s patient.

Routine autopsy examinations are generally performed Monday through Friday free of charge for Boston Children’s hospitalized patients or those that pass outside of the hospital premises. Autopsies are not performed on non-Boston Children’s patients without prior agreement between the two hospitals’ Departments of Pathology. Weekend autopsy arrangements can be made for harvesting of tissue of undiagnosed suspected metabolic conditions that require special metabolic testing.

Transportation to and from Boston Children’s must be arranged by the family or legal guardian at their expense. Funeral home costs, costs that involve services and after death rituals, or costs for special testing that is not needed to determine the cause of death are not covered by Boston Children’s Hospital or the Department of Pathology.

The Department of Pathology does not perform autopsy examinations on patients that fall under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner or on non-Boston Children’s patients whose families are concerned about the quality of medical care before death.

Contact information

  • Department of Pathology: Pathologist-on-call pager 1603

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