Division of Autopsy Pathology

The Autopsy Pathology Division performs approximately 400 autopsies a year to determine the cause of death, confirm clinical diagnoses, evaluate the effects of therapy and study disease process. In addition to examining patients who died within the hospital, we also perform private autopsies at the request of family members, physicians or researchers.


The Autopsy Service has performed more than 53,000 autopsies since it was established in 1889. Our service accepts cases from outside parties, including families who want to establish or confirm findings on cause of death and to resolve questions about possible medical negligence or hereditary disease.

Autopsies are performed by house officers under close supervision of senior house officers and attendings. Special procedures may include radiography, angiography, microbiology, photography and electron microscopy. For unusual or complex cases, the expertise and resources of Johns Hopkins are available to us for specialized consultation.

We maintain records and slides of every autopsy performed by the service, which are available to investigators for review. During the more than 100 years since the service began, this information has been used in hundreds of studies, especially those related to investigations of the development of disease.