Association of Anatomical Pathology Technology


Guidelines on autopsy practice: Autopsy for bodies recovered from water December 2018

The autopsy guidelines published by the Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath) are benchtop guidelines for pathologists to deal with non-forensic consent and coroner’s post-mortem examinations in a consistent manner and to a high standard

They may contain some distressing information and as such are not intended for the lay audience.

The guidelines are systematically developed statements to assist the decisions of practitioners and are based on the best available evidence at the time the document was prepared. Given that much autopsy work is single observer and one-time only in reality, it has to be recognised that there is no reviewable standard that is mandated beyond that of the FRCPath Part 2 examination. Nevertheless, much of this can be reviewed against ante-mortem imaging and/or other data.

These guidelines have been developed to cover most common circumstances. However, we recognise that guidelines cannot anticipate every pathological specimen type and clinical scenario. Occasional variation from the practice recommended in this guideline may therefore be required to report a specimen in a way that maximises benefit to the coroner and the deceased's family.

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