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Request for Autopsy

Summary

SME: Medical Director
Last Review Date: 6 /6/07

Last Review Date: 10/19/10

Last Review Date: 08/31/11

UTHCPC complies with Article 49.25, Section 6 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure and contacts the Harris County Medical Examiner's office to request an autopsy for the following conditions:

In the event of a patient death within 24 hours of admission

In the event of any unnatural death or any unknown cause of death occurring during the patient's hospital stay

Process

This table describes the request for autopsy process:

Stage

Person Responsible

Description

1

The physician (or on-call physician if appropriate)

Pronounces the patient dead and documents the date and time in the chart

See: Nursing manual procedure entitled, "Death/Postmortem Care"

2

The physician (or on-call physician if appropriate), nursing staff, or nursing supervisor

Immediately notifies the Administrator on-call

Notifies the Harris County Medical Examiner's office to request an autopsy

Documents in the chart the date and time called

3

The nursing staff, or nursing supervisor

Does the patient have a next of kin or appropriate legal representative?

If yes, contacts the next of kin or appropriate legal representative to inform him/her of the following:

The patient has died

S/he has contacted the County Medical Examiner's office

S/he has requested an autopsy in accordance with Texas law

Requests permission to notify LifeGift Organ Donation Center for follow-up

If no, notifies the Medical Examiner or authorized deputy to take charge of the body and all property found with it

Body transport

The body will be appropriately isolated while awaiting either:

Transport to the Harris County Medical Examiner's facility

Evaluation of potential organ donation by LifeGift Organ Donation Center

Related standards

The Joint Commission : Medical Staff , Performance Improvement

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Harris County Psychiatric Center University of Texas Health Science Center