What Is An Autopsy?

Stedman's Medical Dictionary defines an autopsy as, "An examination of the organs of a dead body to determine the cause of death or to study the pathologic changes present."

An autopsy is a thorough pathological examination, both internal and external, of the body of a deceased human being.   It is normally implied that this examination is performed with the intent of determining the Cause and Manner of death of the individual in question.

Many people are unaware as to the distinction between Cause of Death and Manner of Death.  The Cause of Death is the physiological incident which started the physical progression of death in the body.  The Manner of Death, on the other hand, is which category the death falls into.  The Manner of Death can be one of five categories: Homicide, Suicide, Natural, Accidental, or Undetermined.