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The dissection of a dead body by a medical examiner or physician authorized by law to do so in order to determine the cause and time of a death that appears to have resulted from other than natural causes.

This postmortem examination, required by law, is ordered by the local Coroner when a person is suspected to have died by violent or unnatural means. The consent of the decedent's next of kin is not necessary for an authorized autopsy to be held. The medical findings must be presented at an inquest and might be used as evidence in a police investigation and a subsequent criminal prosecution.


Forensic Science.


References in periodicals archive ?
15) Certainly the two developments were closely related; thus, one of physicians who autopsied Azzolino's cadaver, Bartolomeo da Varignana, also taught medicine with Taddeo at Bologna.
5,9,12,13) While the types of diagnoses missed have changed over the decades, the percentage of missed diagnoses has remained surprisingly constant over the last 90 years, ranging from 15 percent to 80 percent of autopsied cases.
Inaccuracy of death certificate diagnoses in malignancy: an analysis of 1405 autopsied cases.
The researchers autopsied 302 people who had died suddenly of heart attacks, auto accidents, or other misfortunes.