The Autopsy Experience for Residents in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
During the four year Anatomic Pathology/Clinical Pathology Program at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, a resident spends four months on our autopsy service over the first three years. This primary experience occurs in our Division of Forensic Pathology, at our State Medical Examiner's Office. This office performs over 1,000 autopsies every year of which half are due to natural deaths and the remaining cases are caused by unnatural deaths due to homicides, suicides, accidents, or undetermined events. The first three months of the Autopsy/Forensic Pathology experience based at our State Medical Examiner's Office in Louisville, also includes coverage of autopsies at the University Hospital, where 50 autopsies, including perinatal cases, are performed each year. During the first three months of the Autopsy/Forensic experience, a resident will be involved with over 70 autopsies, so that by the final fourth month of the Autopsy rotation the resident should be able to participate in an Anatomic Pathology elective.
Additional autopsy experiences are obtained by the resident when the individual rotates on their required month of Pediatric Pathology at the affiliated Children's Hospital and the required Neuropathology service at the University of Louisville Hospital. These postmortem experiences offer residents insight and knowledge not only into hospital and forensic autopsies, but also into perinatal and pediatric autopsies as well as neuropathology.
The residents, during these experiences, evaluate cadavers with gross dissections, microscopic examinations and related special procedures. All postmortem examinations are reviewed with an attending autopsy pathologist and provide material for presentations by our residents at the monthly Autopsy Conference for the University Medical Center. Clinical research is encouraged from these autopsy experiences, which residents can document and report.