Ascension St. John Hospital Autopsy Service

Residents rotate on the anatomic pathology rotation for a minimum of 21 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. 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.
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. Senior residents are given the opportunity to remove the brain and spinal cord without causing injury to either structure. 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.