Message from the Director
The UTMB Autopsy Service has a strong tradition of providing services to clinicians and bereaved families, and supporting the clinical, educational and research missions of the university. We strongly believe in the dictum that “the living can learn from the dead”; it is our experience that autopsies can serve not only educational and scientific purposes, but also humanitarian ones, by providing information and opportunities for closure for grieving families. As veterans of the Decedent Affairs Office, several individuals on our staff can offer advice on approaching families about autopsy.
UTMB has a historically active academic autopsy service. Our faculty pathologists are experienced in autopsy pathology and represent a wide array of subspecialty expertise in neuropathology, cardiac pathology, pediatric pathology, infectious disease pathology, forensic pathology, cytopathology, and surgical pathology. We have at our disposal laboratory resources to facilitate microbiology, biochemistry, molecular genetic, toxicology, and immunohistochemical testing on cases as needed. We strive to fully answer questions that clinicians and families have on each case. We routinely present our findings at a variety of interdisciplinary conferences on campus upon request. The educational mission is taken seriously in the division, where we educate medical students, allied health students and professionals, nurses, physicians, residents and laboratorians in applied clinical anatomy, pathology, issues surrounding death and dying, the value and limitations of autopsy, legal issues surrounding autopsy, and forensic medicine.
We are always striving to improve the services we offer. Our vision for the future includes expanding our involvement in the research mission of the university by procuring tissues for and participating in translational research projects in accordance with ethical guidelines established by Federal and University agencies. We plan to develop course offerings in the medical school exploring the role of autopsy in modern medical practice. Finally, we are constantly working to improve communication with our ultimate clients, the physicians. Overall, we see ourselves as very much a part of the caring community at UTMB, “Here for the Health of Texas”.