Autopsy Service / Forensic Pathology

The Autopsy Service at the Medical Center is designated as a Regional Autopsy Center by the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. In 2017, the Autopsy Service performed nearly 1,300 autopsies and external examinations. Of these, 86% were medicolegal* cases; this department serves as the regional forensic pathology center for 32 of North Carolina's 100 counties. The remaining cases include hospital deaths in which the family requests or signs consent for an autopsy.

In addition, the Autopsy Service provides training and supervision for pathology residents on their autopsy/forensic pathology rotations and offers a fellowship in the specialty.

*Medical Examiner (Medicolegal) Autopsies: Under North Carolina General Statute, the chief medical examiner or designated county medical examiner has jurisdiction to determine the cause and manner of death whenever the manner is unnatural or in certain circumstances, regardless of the survival time following the underlying injury. Such autopsies may include scene investigation and trial testimony in addition to the clinical evaluations.

The donation of bodies for medical education, or Anatomical Bequeathal Program, is administered by the Center for Applied Learning and Anatomy, not Pathology. Please call (336) 716-4369 or send an e-mail to jdutrow@wakehealth.edu for information.

Please do not contact the department of pathology or autopsy services concerning organ or body donations.

Carolina Donor Services coordinates various individual organ donations; their number is (336) 774-4450 or (800) 200-2672. The North Carolina Eye Bank can be reached at (336) 765-0932.