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Authorization for Autopsies | Print |

The Medical Examiner is authorized by statute to perform or not perform an autopsy on any body within his/her jurisdiction. Autopsies are performed using the discretion of the pathologist and when, in the judgment of the Medical Examiner, a medico-legal requirement exists which can only be satisfied by autopsy. Generally, autopsies are performed if there is evidence of violence (recent or remote) or evidence of suspected unnatural death or a death that needs explanation. The Medical Examiner will not perform an autopsy simply because the attending physician refuses to sign the death certificate and wants to know the extent of the natural disease process. The Medical Examiner has the authority to perform autopsies when clear jurisdiction to investigate the death exists. The authority to perform autopsies is defined by statute and does not require concurrence or consent of surviving family. Whenever possible, the wishes of the family which raises an objection to autopsy will be considered, but in some cases, an autopsy will need to be performed over family objections.


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Fulton County Medical Examiner

430 Pryor Street SW
Atlanta, Georgia 30312
Phone: 404-613-4400
Fax: 404-613-2463
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