What is an autopsy?

It is a medical exam and procedure to try and help determine the cause of death or other factors that may have led to the death of your loved one.

Do you have to consent to an autopsy?

Having an autopsy performed is your choice, although in some instances, it may be required by the Medical Examiner. Many times families give consent to an autopsy to learn more about the specific cause of death.

What does an autopsy cost?

At Texas Children’s Hospital there is no charge to you for an autopsy. This is also true for patients who died on hospice care. However, there will be a transportation fee back to Texas Children’s from your home or the inpatient hospice facility. Ask your hospice team how they handle this transportation fee.

Will an autopsy interfere with the final arrangements of my loved one?

An autopsy will not delay your funeral plans. You can also be reassured that it will not alter the appearance of your loved one at the funeral.

How long does it take to get the results of an autopsy?

Typically, it can take up to 3 months before autopsy results are available. You may schedule a time to discuss the autopsy results with your loved one’s attending doctor. This discussion can occur at the hospital or over the telephone, whichever is the most comfortable for you

The results are not automatically mailed. You will need to request the autopsy report through medical records to receive a personal copy of the autopsy. It is recommended to discuss the results with the doctor first, as the results are typically lengthy and contain medical terminology.

How can I get in contact with the Medical Examiner?

  • Harris County Contact Information for Families:
    • For questions or for community resource information, contact:
      • Victim’s Assistance (832) 927-5007
    • For medical questions specific to your loved one’s case, contact:
      • Family Liaison Team (832) 927-5006*
    • To obtain a copy of an autopsy report or for general questions, contact:
      • Administrative Services (832) 927-5004*
    • Main phone number: (832) 927-5000
    • To check the status of a case on-line using a name or a case number, visit: www.IFSCaseStatus.com
    • Phone calls are answered during regular business hours between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday with the exception of Harris County holidays.
  • Montgomery County Contact Information for Families:
    • Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office
      • Victim Services Coordinator (936) 760-5705
    • Conroe Police Department
      • Crime Victim Liaison (936) 522-3231
    • Texas Department of Public Safety
      • Victim Support Services (979) 776-3121
  • Galveston County Contact Information for Families:
    • Erin Barnhart, M.D. Chief Medical Examiner
      • 6607 Hwy 1764 Texas City, Texas 77591
      • Phone: 409-935-9274
      • Fax: 409-935-8305