Information Regarding Arranging an Autopsy

Listed here are some important points to assist you as you consider autopsy services:

  • - Upon the request by the responsible family member, usually the legal next of kin or the legally designated Power of Attorney, we will make arrangements with the chosen funeral home to transport the deceased to Evanston Hospital. If necessary and/or requested, we will provide a private removal service for pickup of the deceased and its return to the designated funeral establishment.

  • - Prior to beginning the autopsy, we will consult with either the deceased’s family physician or family members as to the pertinent medical history and special points of medical interest.

  • - A complete, or (if requested) limited autopsy will be performed within 24 hours of the request for post-mortem examination.

  • - The requesting family member will be verbally informed of the initial autopsy findings within 24 hours of the completion of the autopsy.

  • - Upon completion of the autopsy, we will arrange for the chosen funeral home to pick up the deceased from Evanston Hospital for return to the funeral home.

  • - The autopsy procedure will in no way detract from any open casket viewing or embalming procedures.

  • - A full report of the autopsy findings including any performed toxicology studies and microbiology culture findings will be sent to the requesting family member upon completion of the study, usually in about 60 days. Requested photography will also be included in the report if such photographs were specifically requested by the family.

  • - The pathologist who performed the autopsy will be available to family members to discuss the final autopsy findings.

  • - The pathologist will also be available for consultation with attorneys to explain the autopsy findings if there is any contemplated legal action arising from the death. A copy of the final autopsy report will be provided to a designated attorney at law chosen by the family.

  • The autopsy can only be requested by the legal next of kin or the legally designated Power of Attorney. The order of authority to give consent must be strictly observed and is given in the following order:

    A) Legally designated and court-appointed Power of Attorney, then
    B) Surviving spouse; if spouse is deceased or incompetent, then
    C) Adult children; if none, then
    D) Adult grandchildren; if none, then
    E) Parents; if none, then
    F) Brothers or sisters; if none, then
    G) Grandparents; if none, then
    H) Uncles or aunts; if none, then
    I) Nephews or nieces; if none, then
    J) Cousins; if none, then
    K) Stepchildren; if none, then
    L) Relatives or next of kin of previously deceased spouse; if none, then
    M) Any other relative or friend who assumes custody of and financial responsibility for the body for burial.


If two or more persons who are entitled to authorize the postmortem examination assume responsibility for the burial, the written authorization of one is sufficient. If there is known opposition to the autopsy by one next of kin of the same class as the one signing the autopsy permit, it is unwise to proceed with the autopsy.

The autopsy request/consent form must be signed and dated by the legal next of kin or the Power of Attorney, as well as signed by two witnesses. See sample request form under consent form button.

In all out-of-hospital deaths within Cook County, the Medical Examiner’s Office, telephone 312.666.0500, must be informed and they must decline to perform an autopsy themselves.

The deceased must be properly tagged and identified by the funeral home, which assumes responsibility for transporting the body to and from Evanston Hospital (unless arrangements have been previously made for our removal service).