Stanford Autopsy Rotation

During AP you will do two months of autopsy at Stanford, once during your first year and once during your second year.  It’s a great time to perfect your gross anatomy and dissecting skills.  Typically there are one or two residents on at a time.  Once an autopsy is requested you will review clinical information and contact the clinical team/physician with any questions you might have and also to see if they have any specific questions or concerns before starting the case.  After reviewing the case with the clinical team, you’ll present the clinical history to the autopsy attending and discuss areas that may require special attention during the prosection.
You’ll complete the prosection with the help of two very experienced autopsy technicians, Matt and Jaime, who will eviscerate the organs en bloc and remove the brain for each case.  You will then dissect out the organs, weigh each one and note any important abnormalities.  Typically the only organs you will not section that day are the lungs, heart and brain.  The lungs will be inflated with formalin by Matt/Jaime and the heart will be placed in formalin for the night.  The remainder of the organs will be placed in the refrigerator and reviewed at autopsy conference the following morning.  The next morning you should plan on getting into the autopsy suite at 9:00am following morning conference.  At this time you should section the heart, examine the sectioned lungs and lay out the remainder of the organs.  Autopsy conference starts at 9:30am.  During autopsy conference you will present the clinical history and go over the case with the autopsy attendings and clinical team (if they choose to attend). 

Following conference you will submit appropriate tissue for histologic evaluation and come up with the PAD (preliminary autopsy diagnosis) with your attending.  The histology slides usually come out in the next one to two days at which time you will review them with your attending.  At this time you can work on the epicrisis and submit the finalized report to your attending.  You will be expected to take call which is split between the people at the VA and the resident or residents on Stanford autopsy.  Weekend and overnight call usually entails answering rare phone calls about specific cases; the only autopsies performed after hours and on weekends are in the exceedingly rare circumstance of a baby with suspected metabolic disorders.  All reports must be finalized in 30 days.  You may need to present your autopsy findings at outside department conferences during your autopsy month or the following month.

Stanford Autopsy

Andrew J Connolly, M.D., Ph.D. 
Sarah A Michie, M.D.
Donald Regula, M.D.
Darren Salmi, M.D.

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