The Complete History of the Autopsy


INTRO: Considered the ultimate medical audit, an autopsy can be categorized by five different rulings for cause of death: natural, accident, homicide, suicide, or undetermined. Not everyone receives an autopsy upon death; in a case where suspicious circumstances surround the death, a medical examiner or coroner can order an autopsy without consent from next of kin. If your family has any lingering doubts about what killed you, they can request the procedure, but they'll have to cover the costs—$2,500 to $5,000—themselves.

Over the last 2,500 years, as medicine moved from mystic art to proper science, so did the field of pathology and the quest to figure out what a person's body can tell us about how they died. Autopsies can provide answers—but even now, sometimes they find nothing but a cloud of uncertainty. Here is their story....


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