Department of Pathology Diagnostic Services

Autopsy and Medical Pathology

The family and the physicians who treated the patient may wish to confirm the conditions of the illness or to know the cause of death. This scenario is the most common reason for doing an autopsy, and requires the family's permission.

In this center, we are investigating a number of diseases that require special post-mortem examinations. These entities include Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), and systemic lupus erythematosis (Lupus, a common women's disease), as well as other disease processes. In all cases, we require permission from the family.

This center has created a large number of new medical or surgical procedures especially in the treatment of cancer and heart disease, and many of these eventually reach common usage throughout the medical community. If such a patient should die, an autopsy is requested to assist in further treatment of similar patients. In such a patient, permission for autopsy from the family is required.

Should a patient die under suspicious circumstances or unattended by a physician, an autopsy will be performed by the Medical Examiner of the City of New York. In this case permission from the family is not required. However, if the Medical Examiner declines to do the autopsy, we may perform one with the family's permission.

An autopsy is performed by an Attending Autopsy Pathologist with a Pathology Resident in training. The Attending Pathologist always supervises the autopsy, and the entire Autopsy Pathology staff reviews all autopsies. A report of the findings is given to the attending physicians, who communicate the results to family members.

Columbia University
Department of Pathology
630 W. 168th Street
Box #23
New York, NY 10032
Phone 212-305-6239

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Columbia University
Department of Pathology
630 W. 168th Street
New York, NY 10032

The New York Presbyterian Hospital
at Columbia University
Medical Center
622 West 168th Street
New York, NY 10032
(212) 305-2500
Web Site:

Physician Referral

Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York

Autopsy Consent Form

Select a Diagnostic Speciality

Contact Us

  • Columbia University Pathology
    Client Services

    Tel: 800 653-8200
    Fax: 646 426-0080
  • Autopsy

    Tel: 212 305-6239

    Clinical Laboratories

    Tel: 212 305-5602


    Tel: 212 305-2360

    GYN Pathology

    Tel: 212 305-3531


    Tel: 212 305-4531

    Renal Pathology

    Tel: 212 305-7460

    Surgical Pathology

    Tel: 212 305-6719

    Slide Send Out Services

    Tel: 212 305-0958
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