Ascension St. John Hospital Autopsy Service

Residents rotate on the anatomic pathology rotation for a required 20 four-week blocks. During the first 13 blocks, eight of which are in the first year, they are perfecting the Skill level 1 requirement for the autopsy rotation. This is also what their evaluation reflects (skill level 1 evaluation form). They are instructed on autopsy prosection using routine techniques. Additionally, they are required to complete gross examination in a period of 3 hours for uncomplicated cases, or 4 hours for complicated ones. They should have the ability to compose a provisional anatomic diagnostic report of autopsy findings within 24 hours of completing the postmortem examination, plus compose a final autopsy report according to an approved format & within 30 days of completing the postmortem examination, including accurate and complete anatomic diagnoses, thorough gross and microscopic descriptions, and pertinent clinicopathologic correlations and mechanistic interpretations.
As residents progress to Skill level 2 (one 5-four-week block rotation in their 3rd and 2-four-week block in their 4th year of training) they are evaluated at this level and assume additional responsibility. They are involved in teaching junior residents, and assist Autopsy I residents in the achievement of basic skills in anatomic pathology. Additionally, they can take selective autopsy call in support of Autopsy I residents at the same time they should be able to independently perform at least one adult and one pediatric autopsy (with the possible assistance of dieners and/or pathology assistants). They are also required to be familiar with the laws/policies regarding permission for autopsy and the classification of those autopsies requiring medicolegal status. Senior residents are given the opportunity to remove the brain and spinal cord without causing injury to either structure. Also they should aid in removing the eyes, the epiglottis and tongue, & the inner and middle ears. They are also instructed on how to collect blood samples and vitreous eye fluid as required for biochemical tests, and to collect those samples in the proper fashion.