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MrGrimm888's avatar

Is there any way I can avoid an autopsy? (Details)

Asked by MrGrimm888 (9289points) March 14th, 2017

One of my biggest fears about dying , is having an autopsy performed on me.

Can I join a religion, or get some document, that would protect me from one.

I live in the USA. Most tell me it is unavoidable.

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56 Answers

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Dutchess_III's avatar

Autopsies aren’t commmon. They do it only if the family or police request it. Put it in your will.

rojo's avatar

I did not think autopsies were performed on everyone, only those who die under mysterious circumstances, from unknown reasons or are victims of foul play.

Yeah, what @Dutchess_III said but also in your advance health care directive and be sure all friends and family members are aware of your desire.

I guess you could also put in on a medical alert bracelet.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I think they are also performed to determine cause of death if it is not known.

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si3tech's avatar

@MrGrimm888 Live to a ripe old age and they may say not needed, natural causes. Actually my significant other was 73 when he died at home. They did not do an autopsy. I found him sitting on his couch with his feet up on footstool, ankles crossed.

johnpowell's avatar

Get a big “DNR” tat on your chest in old english is probably your best bet.

Cruiser's avatar

Aren’t you an LEO? I would think you have ways to dodge a toe tag and evisceration by the coroner when you kick the can for the last time.

CWOTUS's avatar

Putting anything in your will is not going to have any effect on what happens before the will is probated or even read, so that’s out. Your body will long since have been disposed of before the will is opened.

And if you commit suicide (for example) and leave a note asking that your remains not be autopsied, that is almost certain to be ignored. So that’s out, too.

Your best bet is to make like Ambrose Bierce, and to simply disappear, never to be found, and leave an aura of mystery. Of course, if you die in the wilderness and the birds and other animals get to you (leaving smaller remains to the insect kingdom), and you’re squeamish about autopsies, well … ahem.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I think you can get a personal directive.

janbb's avatar

They hardly ever do autopsies any more. Too expensive. The ony time they do one, as has been said, is if there is suspicion surrounding the death.

JLeslie's avatar

They typically only do an autopsy if the person is young, or if the person died under suspicious circumstances.

Some Jews don’t like autopsies, you could become Jewish. Autopsies take time and delay the burial. Jewish people are supposed to be buried within a couple days of dying. Probably, also, we don’t like the desecration of the body, but I’m not sure. You would have to research it. I’ve heard stories that when the state insists on autopsy the Rabbi stays with the body or something. Not all Jews would be against it, and I think under suspicious circumstances even a Jewish family who typically wouldn’t want it, would want the death investigated. I think the biggest thing is the time it takes.

jca's avatar

As said before, if you die young or from suspicious circumstances (for example, if it looks like you OD’d), they will do an autopsy. If there was a crime they will do an autopsy. I don’t know if your family has a choice.

Patty_Melt's avatar

You could blow yourself up, then they would put you together instead of taking you apart.

Get a tattoo of skull and crossbones which says open at your own risk.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

You’ll probably will get an autopsy if you are the third SO of a someone to die from “suicide.”

True story I have a friend that owns a funeral parlor, state police show up with a request for autopsy the afternoon the body was brought in (died overnight).

MrGrimm888's avatar

Thanks everyone for your contributions. I’ve talked to several people about it. Most seem to indicate that it’s a likely event,no matter what.

At my age (I’m fairly young ,30’s) I have heard I would probably have one done,regardless of the circumstances of my death.

I have a request for no autopsy in my wallet. But I doubt that would cover it, if someone even found it. My family and friends are aware, but I don’t know if they could stop one…

It’s just something that really bothers me… I guess we all struggle with certain aspects of our mortality.

JLeslie's avatar

Yes, if you died at 30 it would be done, unless you were already previously diagnosed with a terminal disease and had been actively dying just before death.

Or, a sudden accident that no one would survive they might pass on the autopsy, I’m not sure about that one.

The family can’t stop a criminal investigation.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
JLeslie's avatar

@MrGrimm888 What exactly bothers you about it?

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Well. I guess I have lots of problems with it. I mainly see it as desecrating my body. Like butchering me. It seems like something someone would do to someone they hated.

My body has been there for me. It doesn’t deserve to be mutilated. It’s bad enough I’ll be dead.

That singer who was shot in Orlando. The other day I read that they did an autopsy on her. She was shot to death,in public, on video. They said cause of death was determined to be gunshot wounds. No shit?
Poor girl was murdered,then chopped up for NO reason.

I hate that they autopsy anyone. In some cases, it’s warranted, like to solve a crime.

If I’m murdered, I still don’t want an autopsy. I don’t care if the murderer goes free. They’ll still die eventually. Mutilating my poor corpse won’t bring me back. And no, I don’t care if it would save others from the same fate. Maybe I’m being selfish, but I don’t care.

The thought of lying on a steel table while someone dissects me, repulses me.

It’s bad enough knowing that I will die. But to think someone will cut me up,and burn or bury me sucks.

I’d like to crawl up into a cave or something and just pass on. Someone might find my bones in several hundred years or so. But that’s ok. Or as close to ok as such a thing can be.

janbb's avatar

A little learning can be a useful thing. This article gives you the percentage of autopsies being done today and the reasons why. I don’t think you have to worry much about it unless you are murdered in which case you’ll have more problems than that.

JLeslie's avatar

@MrGrimm888 I don’t know if this will make you feel better, but as you get older you will more and more likely have been surgically cut, scarred, or mutilated in some way just by living life. I have already had little pieces cut away. I have scars in five areas of my body from an accident. My father has the long scar on his chest from being cracked open for heart surgery, many women years ago had vertical scars from c-sections, lots of people have appendix scars, we could go on. I realize it’s not exactly the same as desecrating or disturbing the dead, but maybe it can help you reframe it a little in your head that cutting into a body to extend life, or to find justice, or even help others, is all part of the same continuum.

I’m not trying to convince you, or say you are wrong to feel as you do, I’m just trying to give you anoher way to think of it so it might be easier for you, and you won’t dwell or worry about it. I give you this possible perspective so you can feel more peace about if in a rare case it might happen to you or someone you love.

MrGrimm888's avatar

@janbb , and @JLeslie. Thanks for your attempts at reassurance.

It may seem trivial, but this has long been a concern for me. Hopefully I won’t have one, when the time comes…

Dutchess_III's avatar

BUT…one thing to consider…what if you ARE murdered, and the only way to find out what / who killed you would be to have an autopsy…..?

MrGrimm888's avatar

^As I stated above . I don’t care. My killer will die eventually. Gutting me like a fish won’t make me live again.

I think murder is a likely cause of death for me. But I don’t want it to be worse/compounded by someone butchering me…

3 weeks ago, I had to break up a huge ,bloody fight, in a restroom. There were like 15 guys fighting, multiple guys down, and I got kind of roughed up stopping it. Although that’s kind of anomalous, it has been a trend lately. People are getting more violent, and carrying more weapons than 10 years ago.

I just would really hate it if I got stabbed,or shot, and then someone cut me up for NO REASON .

Dutchess_III's avatar

But what if they’re a member of the family and they could do it again?

Again, if they know why you died, even if it’s murder and they know who did it, they will have no reason to do an autopsy. Hell, call a funeral home and ask them how often they’re done. I can’t imagine who you’re talking to that they insist an autopsy is almost always done. Maybe they watch too many crime shows.

MrGrimm888's avatar

@Dutchess_III . When I worked at the veterinary emergency hospital,some of the other techs were also nurses in human hospitals. They indicated that autopsies were common, and not easy to avoid… They worked at a very reputable local hospital.

I’m really feeling a little bit better ,because it seems that it is less common than I thought.

But if I get stabbed, can’t they just assume that I died of my injuries?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, sure. But then they’d throw the guy in jail for murder. If is attorneys wanted to prove the stabbing was not the cause of death they might request an autopsy.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m sure that in a hospital environment they are exposed to far more autopsies and autopsy results than other people, so it may seem more common to them than it is.

jca's avatar

The attorneys wouldn’t request an autopsy if you were stabbed to death, the DA would, to prove his case.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, the DA represents the prosecution. He may request one to prove that it WAS the cause of death. The defense lawyers would request one to prove that it wasn’t.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I’m just going to have to not get stabbed…

Dutchess_III's avatar

If you do, I didn’t do it!

jca's avatar

The DA would request one so justice can be served, and prove guilt OR innocence.

jca's avatar

I just googled “Who requests an autopsy” and got this: “Can anyone request an autopsy?

Any family member or close friend of the deceased may ask for an autopsy, but the autopsy must be properly authorized. Additionally, some autopsy examinations are required by law because they fall under the jurisdiction of a coroner, justice of the peace, or medical examiner.”

chyna's avatar

They are also very expensive and if a family requests one, they have to pay for it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Thanks guys. I guess y’all know about the law than I do. I thought the DA just worked for the prosecution.

jca's avatar

@Dutchess_III: The DA works for the prosecution, but it’s in his best interest to get the correct answer, not just a one sided answer.

MrGrimm888's avatar

So. Can friends /family stop an autopsy?

jca's avatar

According to what I just read, sometimes it’s required by law, which would mean they are doing it whether family or friends want it or not. I would guess the case where there’s a crime committed would be an example.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Yeah. I think it’s unavoidable, in certain situations.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t think anyone, or not most of us anyway, are saying your feelings about it are trivial. Most of the world has specific burial practices that revolve around respect for the dead. How we treat a dead body is taken seriously by many many people, and tied up with lots of feelings and emotion. You are not alone.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My husband’s main argument against cremation was that there would be no place to visit the person. However, when his nephew died last year, at only 42, and was cremated, he was buried in an urn in a cemetery and had a headstone. That really got the wheels turning in his mind. I would like a plaque, or something on something reasonably permanent so my kids could “visit” my site. My son said that’s what he wanted, anyway.
My daughter thinks that turning my ashes into jewellery is gross, LOL! So I guess that’s out, even though I thought it was kind of cool.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III There is also the option of a columbarium. Or, keeping the ashes at home. Or, spreading the ashes in a place your lived once like to visit. That often is illegal, but I doubt anyone has ever been stopped.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s up to my kids. It’s whatever is important to them, because I won’t care.

Judi's avatar

I’ve had several people die in my life, two by suicide and none had an autopsy. If the cause of death is apparent, say you get cancer or are rushed to the hospital with a heart attac or are bitten by a shark while scuba diving or have a bullet in your head they’re not going to waste the money on an autopsy.

jca's avatar

Several people that I know that overdosed got autopsies.

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Dutchess_III's avatar

Yeah @jca. It’s possible that someone else OD’d them.

jca's avatar

@Dutchess_III: Autopsy determined exactly what they took.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Right. And from there they can tell if it may be suspicious.

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Tropical_Willie's avatar

You die on the way to the Sun; on a Solo mission.

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