All human remains regardless of their state of preservation will be handled with the dignity befitting what they represent. When an autopsy examination is required by the medical examiner the autopsy will be performed expeditiously and without delay and in such a manner so as not to disfigure the body in any way. The pathology staff of the medical examiner's office consists of two full time forensic pathologists and one full time forensic pathology assistant. The job of the pathologist is to certify the cause and manner of death based upon the information gathered at the scene, at the lab, and from both gross and microscopic examination at the autopsy.

Operating Table

The forensic pathology assistant photographs the body as it comes into the morgue and again after the body has been undressed and cleaned. The body is examined for physical evidence like hairs and fibers, and swabs may be taken. The clothing and evidence is then logged and packaged. X-rays may also be taken. After the pathologist dictates the external examination, the body is opened and the organs removed. The individual organs are examined and weighed and sections are retained for microscopic evaluation. Every attempt will be made to externally reconstruct the body to its original condition. The organs are returned to the body and it is closed, cleaned, and wrapped to be sent to the mortuary.

A positive identification is essential before the body is released from this office. This is accomplished by visual, (usually photographic), fingerprints, or both body and dental x-ray comparison.