Donation

Organ and Tissue Donation

There is a difference between organ donation for research and donation for transplant. Tissue donation for research assists the field of medicine in the effort to understand disease and improve treatments. Tissue donation for transplant can help a living person overcome a specific organ failure.

Donation of entire bodies for research:

  • Your local Medical School is always in need of whole bodies for anatomy instruction. Unfortunately, bodies that have been previously autopsied or have had specific tissue removed for donation or research, are not generally acceptable for the instructional purpose.

For more information contact the nearest Medical School Anatomy Department.

Brain donation for research:

In addition to brain only autopsies for families by our board certified neuropathologists, PSS also works with many researchers in North America. We can match families interested in brain donation with research organizations that focus on the families’ area of concern. Research organizations are in need of the following types of human brains.

  • Normal Many researchers need normal (without pathology) human brains to complete their studies. Normal brains are important research tools because they can be used in comparison studies.
  • Bipolar (manic-depressive) Many researchers need human brains with this clinical diagnosis. Some will even share in the cost of retrieval, preparation and shipping.
  • Schizophrenia Many researchers need human brains with this clinical diagnosis. Some will even share in the cost of retrieval, preparation and shipping.
  • Dementia—Alzheimer’s Although there are many types of dementia, Alzheimer’s is the most common diagnosis and is the most commonly researched. Most Alzheimer’s researchers are only interested in cases that have been followed by their clinicians prior to the patient’s death. There are a few researchers who will accept Alzheimer’s cases that have not been followed in their clinics; however, they may not share in the cost of retrieval, preparation and shipping.
  • Dementia other than Alzheimer’s Research is conducted on many different types of dementia. PSS may be able to match a researcher with specific interests that compare with the concerns of your family.

Tissue and Organ donation for transplant

PSS does not organize tissue and organ donation for transplant. If you need information on transplant donations, please contact the following organizations:

Link to organizations that promote and support tissue and organ donation. Donate Life

Coroners, Medical Examiners, & Law Enforcement

From 1974 until 2001, PSS managed the morgue and autopsy services for the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office. Our efforts helped establish Sacramento as one of the most efficient operations in the country and a center of forensic excellence. We helped establish and encouraged the use of the Coroner’s facility as an educational resource for the community. Over the past thirty years more than one hundred of our staff have gone on to medical school; fifteen are forensic scientists working in crime laboratories around the country. More than one hundred are working in health care as nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants; most are still in our communities.

With the help, energies and commitment of PSS not only did the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office carry out its statutory duties in a mose efficient way it was also an important educational asset for the community.

With our dedicated and enthusiastic staff PSS can help you make your Coroner/Medical Examiner Office a center of excellence, an educational asset for your community and save you money.. Contact us for more information.

Services Provided

  • Complete Autopsy – $2,500.00 to $4,500.00 (includes travel)

This includes a gross description of all organ systems and microscopic examination by a board certified pathologist, diagnosis and cause of death if different than that stated on the death certificate. A comprehensive report with a case summary in non-medical terms will be completed in approximately forty-five working days.

  • Neuropathology Consult – add $700.00

This includes the above plus a detailed examination of the brain by a board certified neuropathologist. This examination is only needed if there are questions regarding the mental or neurological status of the individual, such as seizure disorder or dementia.

This increases the report completion time to approximately ninety working days.

  • Toxicology – add $400.00

This includes the examination of blood and urine for specific prescription drugs.

Toxicology is normally not needed. This increases the report completion time to approximately ninety working days.

  • Brain only Autopsy – $1,800.00 to $3,500.00 (includes travel)

This is an acceptable choice if the only questions involve the mental status of the individual, such as the type of dementia involved.

This examination includes a detailed description of the brain with diagnosis and clinicopathological correlation by a board certified neuropathologist. A comprehensive report will be completed in approximately ninety working days.

Tissue collection and partial autopsies for toxic tort cases are time driven. Technician’s time is billed at $200.00/hour plus expenses with a $600.00 minimum and $1500.00/a day, plus expenses, maximum.. Pathologist time for case review is billed at $350.00/hour plus expenses (two hour minimum) civil court testimony is billed at $450.00/hour (two hour minimum). Depositions are billed at $300.00/hour (two hour minimum).

The above prices are as of January 1, 2006 and may be subject to change without notice.

Please call for confirmation.

Insurance Companies

Of all the entities that should be beating the drum for more autopsies it is the Insurance Industry. Studies have shown that there are approximately 40% serious errors in the diagnosis of hospitalized patients who die and are autopsied, and two thirds of the undiagnosed conditions were considered treatable.1

If insurance companies are making assumption based on the causes of death on death certificates and almost half the death certificates are incorrect how good can those assumptions be. Who would put any value in a poll if the small print stated margin for error + or – 40%.PSS can help. Contact us , we will show you how.

Services Provided

  • Complete Autopsy – $2,500.00 to $4,500.00 (includes travel)

This includes a gross description of all organ systems and microscopic examination by a board certified pathologist, diagnosis and cause of death if different than that stated on the death certificate. A comprehensive report with a case summary in non-medical terms will be completed in approximately forty-five working days.

  • Neuropathology Consult – add $700.00

This includes the above plus a detailed examination of the brain by a board certified neuropathologist. This examination is only needed if there are questions regarding the mental or neurological status of the individual, such as seizure disorder or dementia. This increases the report completion time to approximately ninety working days.

  • Toxicology – add $400.00

This includes the examination of blood and urine for specific prescription drugs.

Toxicology is normally not needed. This increases the report completion time to approximately ninety working days.

  • Brain only Autopsy – $1,800.00 to $3,500.00 (includes travel)

This is an acceptable choice if the only questions involve the mental status of the individual, such as the type of dementia involved.

This examination includes a detailed description of the brain with diagnosis and clinicopathological correlation by a board certified neuropathologist. A comprehensive report will be completed in approximately ninety working days.

Tissue collection and partial autopsies for toxic tort cases are time driven. Technician’s time is billed at $140.00/hour plus expenses with a $600.00 minimum and $1400.00/a day maximum. Pathologist time for case review is billed at $350.00/hour plus expenses (two hour minimum) civil court testimony is billed at $450.00/hour (two hour minimum).

The above prices are as of January 1, 2005 and may be subject to change without notice.

Please call for confirmation.

Law Firms

Toxic Tort

Since 1974 , PSS has been providing nationwide services for law firms specializing in toxic tort cases. We have been involved in hundreds of cases including but not limited to asbestos exposure, smoking related deaths and chemical exposure.

Wrongful Death

We can do a complete autopsy on your deceased client or review the autopsy results if an autopsy has already been done by the hospital or Medical Examiner/Coroner. We usually don’t recommend a second autopsy because in most cases what your looking for is gone. A thorough review is the best use of your money, in our opinion.

Medical Issues

We are involved in other medical issues from anesthesia to x-rays. We can help with work on a new case, or review an existing case.

Services Provided

  • Complete Autopsy – $2,500.00 to $4,500.00 (includes travel)

This includes a gross description of all organ systems and microscopic examination by a board certified pathologist, diagnosis and cause of death if different than that stated on the death certificate. A comprehensive report with a case summary in non-medical terms will be completed in approximately forty-five working days.

  • Neuropathology Consult – add $700.00

This includes the above plus a detailed examination of the brain by a board certified neuropathologist. This examination is only needed if there are questions regarding the mental or neurological status of the individual, such as seizure disorder or dementia.

This increases the report completion time to approximately ninety working days.

  • Toxicology – add $400.00

This includes the examination of blood and urine for specific prescription drugs.

Toxicology is normally not needed. This increases the report completion time to approximately ninety working days.

  • Brain only Autopsy – $1,800.00 to $3,500.00 (includes travel)

This is an acceptable choice if the only questions involve the mental status of the individual, such as the type of dementia involved.

This examination includes a detailed description of the brain with diagnosis and clinicopathological correlation by a board certified neuropathologist. A comprehensive report will be completed in approximately ninety working days.

Tissue collection and partial autopsies for toxic tort cases are time driven. Technician’s time is billed at $200.00/hour,
plus expenses, with a $600.00, plus expenses, minimum and $1500.00/a day, plus expenses, maximum. Pathologist time for case review is billed at $350.00/hour plus expenses (two hour minimum) civil court testimony is billed at $450.00/hour (two hour minimum). Depositions are billed at $300.00/hour (two hour minimum).

The above prices are as of January 1, 2006 and may be subject to change without notice.

Please call for confirmation.

FAQs

Are your pathologists board certified? Yes all of our pathologists are board certified in anatomic pathology, some are board certified in sub specialties such as clinical, forensic and neuropathology. All are fully qualified and experienced in court testimony.

Researchers

PSS has worked with researchers in the US and Canada for the past twenty years. We have a staff of board certified pathologists, including a board certified neuropathologist, and highly trained technicians. Throughout North America, we can remove any organ or medical device and prepare it to your specifications.

Collection

We can ship to you in any condition, fixed (in the fixing agent you specify), frozen @ -80 c, or fresh. Alternately, we can have our pathologist examine the item and then we can report their findings to you.

Preparation

We are able to collect, prepare and ship any tissue, body fluid, prosthesis or medical device anywhere in the country. Our highly trained technical staff is on call for your specific needs.

Please send us your detailed protocol.

Transporting

We can prepare the specimen to your specifications, fresh, fixed in the fixative of your choice, or frozen at -80c or any combination. Please send us your detailed protocol.

We can hand deliver, ship via FedEx, UPS or special courier.

Neuropathotalogy

We can have our pathologist or neuropathologist examine the specimen and
report our findings to you.

Hospitals & Healthcare Providers

Most patients enter the hospital to be treated and cured, and happily that is the way it usually turns out. Inevitably, however, a patient dies in the hospital or shortly after discharge, leaving the family bereaved, confused, and perhaps angry. Many studies have shown there are approximately 40% serious errors in the diagnosis of hospitalized patients who die and are autopsied and two thirds of the undiagnosed conditions were considered treatable.

Pathology Departments

In busy Pathology Departments today, it is often difficult to free a Pathologist from other duties to perform an autopsy. Due to the lack of personnel resources, hospitals often cannot benefit from this important quality assurance procedure.

PSS has been providing support to Hospitals, Pathology Groups and Institutions since 1974. Our pathologists are board certified. We can perform autopsies in your facility as your agent, allowing your medical staff to be present if desired. Also, we can perform the autopsy in the funeral home the family has chosen.

We will communicate with the family and the clinicians, thereby protecting your time.Our fees are reasonable and we are fully insured. We will provide sample copies of our work product on request.

Decedent Affairs Office

After the loss of a loved one, families need your care. The attending physician may not consider an autopsy medically necessary, or your hospital may have a policy against autopsies. However, the family may still have many unanswered questions. Our goal is not to leave those questions unanswered.

Most families are not aware that they can request and pay for a private autopsy. You can refer families to us with confidence. We talk with many families every day, and understand the grieving process and the need for closure. We try to put the course of illness and cause of death in a perspective that the family will understand. goal

Our service is confidential, independent, and discreet.

The families of hospice patients may still have many unexplained questions after the death of their loved one. Some of these questions can only be answered unequivocally by an autopsy. We have RN’s, NP’s, and PA’s on our staff who are skilled in dealing with bereaved families. Our staff is knowledgeable about the questions an autopsy will or will not answer.

Most families are not aware that they can request and pay for a private autopsy. You can refer families to us with confidence. We talk with many families every day, and understand the grieving process and the need for closure. We try to put the course of illness and cause of death in a perspective that the family will understand. We try to take the ambiguity out of death for the family and the care providers.

Nursing Staff

The death of a patient is an emotional experience for the nursing staff as well as the family. In the day to day contact with the patient’s family there is often a trusting as well as a caring relationship that develops. Families often ask questions of the nurse that the physician cannot or will not answer. Families want to know where to find answers. PSS has RN’s, NP’s, and PA’s on our staff who are skilled in dealing with bereaved families. Our staff is knowledgeable about the questions an autopsy will or will not answer.

Most families are not aware that they can request and pay for a private autopsy. You can refer families to us with confidence. We talk with many families every day, and understand the grieving process and the need for closure. Our board certified pathologist try to put the course of illness and cause of death in a perspective that the family will understand. We try to take the ambiguity out of death both for the family and for the care providers.

Medical Social Workers

Whether a loved one’s death is anticipated, as in hospice care, or unexpected, the event itself is always sudden. In the beat of a heart the situation has changed.

People handle the death of a loved one differently. Some are able to work through their grief with the help of family and social services. Others have many unanswered questions that only an autopsy can resolve and thereby bringing closure.

The families medical history has become more and more important as new information is learned about many illnesses. Your client, their children, others in their family may want to know what medical conditions have occurred in the family. With an autopsy, they can know for sure.

We are a community resource for those families that have unanswered questions about the death and course of illness of a spouse, parent or child.

Risk Management

Life is not perfect, mistakes happen. Communication is the key to resolving perceived or actual errors. Sometimes egos interfere with communication. Sometimes it’s the lack of adequate information. When a death occurs (often unexpected by the family but not by the physician), communication by the medical staff sometime ends due to fear of legal action. This cessation of communication creates suspicion, cynicism and reinforces the anger that is part of the normal grieving process.

Studies have shown that a well performed and documented autopsy is as much benefit to the defense as it is to the plaintiff. By retaining PSS to do the autopsy, it demonstrates to the family that you are offering an independent evaluation of your services.

Our service is confidential, independent, and discreet.

Services Provided

  • Complete Autopsy – $2,500.00 to $4,500.00 (includes travel)

This includes a gross description of all organ systems and microscopic examination by a board certified pathologist, diagnosis and cause of death if different than that stated on the death certificate. A comprehensive report with a case summary in non-medical terms will be completed in approximately forty-five working days.

  • Neuropathology Consult – add $700.00

This includes the above plus a detailed examination of the brain by a board certified neuropathologist. This examination is only needed if there are questions regarding the mental or neurological status of the individual, such as seizure disorder or dementia. This increases the report completion time to approximately ninety working days.

  • Toxicology – add $400.00

This includes the examination of blood and urine for specific prescription drugs.

Toxicology is normally not needed. This increases the report completion time to approximately ninety working days.

  • Brain only Autopsy – $1,800.00 to $3,500.00 (includes travel)

This is an acceptable choice if the only questions involve the mental status of the individual, such as the type of dementia involved.

This examination includes a detailed description of the brain with diagnosis and clinicopathological correlation by a board certified neuropathologist. A comprehensive report will be completed in approximately ninety working days.

Tissue collection and partial autopsies for toxic tort cases are time driven. Technician’s time is billed at $200.00/hour, plus expenses, with a $600.00, plus expenses, minimum and $1500.00/a day, plus expenses, maximum. Pathologist time for case review is billed at $350.00/hour plus expenses (two hour minimum) civil court testimony is billed at $450.00/hour (two hour minimum).

  • Depositions are billed at $300.00/hour (two hour minimum).

The above prices are as of January 1, 2006 and may be subject to change without notice.
Please call for confirmation.

FAQs

Why? Most patients enter the hospital to be treated and cured, and happily that is the way it usually turns out. Inevitably, however, a patient dies in the hospital or shortly after discharge, leaving the family bereaved, confused, and perhaps angry. Many studies have shown there are approximately 40% serious errors in the diagnosis of hospitalized patients who die and are autopsied and two thirds of the undiagnosed conditions were considered treatable. As a health care provider, one way of helping the family understand what happened to their loved one is by recommending an independent autopsy be performed. This will not only answer the many questions the family has, it will also increase the value of your services in the eyes of the family. The autopsy has the additional value of increasing medical knowledge, thus benefiting families and humanity.

  • The illness and death of a loved is one of the most traumatic experiences we have to endure.
  • This is a time the family needs answers, not more questions.
  • Independent autopsy to answer their questions.
  • May feel remorseful later if they don’t take steps to answer questions now.

When? The autopsy should be performed as soon after death as possible and before the body is embalmed.

Who? It is most important that the service you recommend not only represent itself in a professional and dignified manner, they must represent your establishment in the same manner. Pathology Support Services, Inc. (PSS) is the oldest and most professional service of its kind in the country.

Where? PSS will do the autopsy in your hospital autopsy room or in the funeral home the family has chosen. Your facility will be left as clean as it was when we began. We are fully insured and meet all Cal OSHA standards.

Cost: See services provided.

Funeral Directors

Dear Funeral Director:

Our goal is to help you, help your families find closure and peace of mind. We try to complement your services not complicate them.As a funeral director, you provide a wide range of services to clients during a difficult time in their lives. To add to the confusion, recent changes in the health care industry may leave some of your clients with more questions than answers about their loved one’s actual cause of death.

An autopsy can help bring closure or provide valuable information about inheritable problems that will assist other family members in early diagnosis and treatment.

Since 1974, Pathology Support Services, Inc. (PSS) has been providing accurate, high quality autopsy services to families, funeral homes, hospitals, forensic-based pathologists, institutions, government agencies and law firms. We perform thousands of autopsies every year and provide an organ recovery and tissue collection service for both research and litigation. PSS is independent. We are not affiliated with any hospital or health care provider.

PSS is sensitive to the needs of families when a loved one passes away. Working with you, the funeral director, we tailor our services to your client’s specific requirements and personal wishes.

Services Provided

  • Complete Autopsy – $2,500.00 to $4,500.00 (includes travel)

This includes a gross description of all organ systems and microscopic examination by a board certified pathologist, diagnosis and cause of death if different than that stated on the death certificate. A comprehensive report with a case summary in non-medical terms will be completed in approximately forty-five working days.

  • Neuropathology Consult – add $700.00

This includes the above plus a detailed examination of the brain by a board certified neuropathologist. This examination is only needed if there are questions regarding the mental or neurological status of the individual, such as seizure disorder or dementia.

This increases the report completion time to approximately ninety working days.

  • Toxicology – add $400.00

This includes the examination of blood and urine for specific prescription drugs.

Toxicology is normally not needed. This increases the report completion time to approximately ninety working days.

  • Brain only Autopsy – $1,800.00 to $3,500.00 (includes travel)

This is an acceptable choice if the only questions involve the mental status of the individual, such as the type of dementia involved.

This examination includes a detailed description of the brain with diagnosis and clinicopathological correlation by a board certified neuropathologist. A comprehensive report will be completed in approximately ninety working days.

Tissue collection and partial autopsies for toxic tort cases are time driven. Technician’s time is billed at $200.00/hour,
plus expenses, with a $600.00, plus expenses, minimum and $1500.00/a day, plus expenses, maximum. Pathologist time for case review is billed at $350.00/hour plus expenses (two hour minimum) civil court testimony is billed at $450.00/hour (two hour minimum). Depositions are billed at $300.00/hour (two hour minimum).

The above prices are as of January 1, 2006 and may be subject to change without notice.
Please call for confirmation.

FAQs

Why? Most patients enter the hospital to be treated and cured, and happily that is the way it usually turns out. Inevitably, however, a patient dies in the hospital or shortly after discharge, leaving the family bereaved, confused, and perhaps angry. Many studies have shown there are approximately 40% serious errors in the diagnosis of hospitalized patients who die and are autopsied and two thirds of the undiagnosed conditions were considered treatable. As a funeral director one way of helping the family understand what happened to their loved one is by recommending an independent autopsy be performed. This will not only answer the many questions the family has it will also increase the value of your services in the eyes of the family. The autopsy has the additional value of increasing medical knowledge, thus benefiting families and humanity.

  • The illness and death of a loved is one of the most traumatic experiences we have to endure.
  • This is a time the family needs answers, not more questions.
  • Independent autopsy to answer their questions.
  • May feel remorseful later if they don’t take steps to answer questions now.

When? The autopsy should be performed as soon after death as possible and before the body is embalmed

Who? It is most important that the service you recommend not only represent itself in a professional and dignified manner, they must represent your business in the same manner. Pathology Support Services, Inc. (PSS) is the oldest and most professional service of its kind in the country. PSS has been a member of the California Funeral Directors Association since 1989.

We are involved in over 1500 autopsies per year and we have made it a priority to understand your business so we can complement not complicate your work. Our goal is the same as yours, help the family through the grieving process and bring closure. We can often relieve feelings of guilt by identifying the course of illness and the exact cause of death, which is often different then that stated on the death certificate.

Where? PSS will do the autopsy in your facility so you will retain control and can complete your work when we are finished. We will coordinate with you so as to impact your workflow as little as possible. Your facility will be left as clean as it was when we began. We are fully insured and meet all Cal OSHA standards.

Cost: It’s a small price to pay for piece of mind.

Families

Losing a loved one is an emotional and personal experience for friends and family members. You are not alone in your grief and confusion. With recent changes in the health care industry, you may have more questions than answers about the actual cause of death and course of illness. An autopsy can help bring closure during a very difficult time, or provide valuable information about inheritable problems to assist other family members in early diagnosis and treatment.

Since 1974, Pathology Support Services, Inc. (PSS) has been providing accurate, high quality autopsy services to families, funeral homes, hospitals, forensic-based pathologists, institutions, government agencies and law firms. We perform thousands of autopsies every year and provide an organ recovery and tissue collection service for both research and litigation. PSS is independent. We are not affiliated with any hospital or health provider.

PSS is sensitive to the needs of families when a loved one passes away. Working with your funeral home, we tailor our services to your specific requirements and personal wishes.

Dementia: Changes & Choices

The term “dementia” instills a fear of the unknown. How can a system as complex as the brain completely shut down a personality, a person, or a past? Is it some environmental exposure? Is it accidental? Has it always been present in some latent form? Can we all expect to develop it as we age? Our nervous system is extremely complex: it is estimated that over fifty per cent of all human genome codes are nervous system specific. Neurons (primary nerve cells) can greatly differ from one another in properties, functions, and within a given region of the brain. Healthy interconnections and neurotransmissions depend upon a carefully balanced multitude of chemical and electrical elements in our bodies. Because neurons are incapable of cell division, they cannot replace themselves. Destruction of even relatively few neurons responsible for a specific function may leave a person with severe clinical neurological deficits.

Unfortunately, this degenerative process is usually a long-term, gradual, condition with irreversible results. Dementia is characterized by a progressive loss of neurons. These changes may be selective, only affecting one or more groups of neurons while leaving other associated groups intact, or the disease may arise in patients without any clear evidence of trauma, ischemia (stroke), or other neurological indicators.

It is important to remember that dementia is not a part of the normal aging process and almost always signifies a disease. The following is a brief clinical and pathological overview of common dementias. Please use these as guidelines with prospective clients, especially those struggling with decisions over loved ones. Keep in mind that while clinical assessments and CAT scans can contribute to diagnostic accuracy, only a microscopic examination of brain tissues can confirm diagnostic suspicions. A brain autopsy is the final answer.

Alzheimer’s Disease:

Most common clinical diagnosis of dementia in the elderly. Clinical onset includes alteration of mood and behavior, progressive disorientation, memory loss, inability to perform simple mathematical skills, aphasia (inability to speak), muteness and immobility. Rarely occurs in patients younger than fifty years. Most cases are random, although five to ten percent are familial. Death is usually caused by pneumonia.

Corticobasal Degeneration:

Dementia characterized by rigidity, jerking movements of limbs, and language deficits and inability to reason.

Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease:

A rapidly progressive dementia with worldwide incidence of one per million
people. Familial forms exist, with the majority of cases inflicting people in their Sixties. This disease can be transmitted to other humans and is usually fatal within seven months of onset. Clinical signs include involuntary jerking muscle contractions on sudden stimulation, ataxia (inability to stand), and subtle changes in memory and behavior.

Huntington Disease:

Dementia with genetic origin. Clinical signs are progressive movement disorders, jerky spasms affecting all parts of the body, difficulty in breathing, writhing, and forgetfulness. Onset is most commonly when people are in their thirties or forties. These patients have a clinically high risk of suicide. Infection (pneumonia) is the most common cause of death.

Parkinsonism:

A dementia associated with movement disorders including rigidity, abnormal posturing, diminished facial expression, slowness of voluntary movements, shortened, accelerated steps, and tremors. May be due to metabolic toxins or other known underlying etiology. This dementia condition increases with age.

Picks Disease:

Progressive dementia brought on by an early onset of behavioral changes and personality alterations with language deficits.

Post Traumatic Dementia:

This is not a disease but a condition that originates from brain trauma (accidental) resulting in hemorrhage and swelling. Causes of dementia include increased cerebrospinal fluid build-up and pressure, thinning of the ventricles, seizures, infections (pneumonia), and psychiatric disorders.

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy:

Clinical signs include rigidity with an inability to stand, abnormal speech, ocular disturbances including a vertical gaze, and eventually a loss of all eye movements. Onset is usually between the fifth and seventh decades, twice as frequent in females, and lethal within five to seven years.

Shy-Drager Syndrome:

Parkinson-type dementia with hypotension (low blood pressure), impotence in males, excessive sweating and salivating, dilated, unequal pupils, and possible joint stiffness.

Vascular Dementia:

Clinical hypertension. Can be caused by a vessel occlusion with blood clot or tumor. Usually due to arteriosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries). Symptoms include severe headaches, vomiting, convulsions, and inability to walk.

Choices

Pathology Support Services (PSS) is available to assist concerned families by performing the brain only autopsy. The autopsy is not a disfiguring procedure, so no facial alteration occurs. Depending upon the site and location of the body, the autopsy can be performed within twenty-four hours of notification. The autopsy is usually finished in less than an hour. Once the autopsy authorization form is complete, PSS coordinates the time with the hospital or mortuary of choice. A detailed report from a board certified neuropathologist specializing in dementia cases will be issued within 60-90 days.

Patients rarely show advancing signs of dementia before the fifth decade. The progressive incidence of disease has given rise to major medical, social, and economic modifications within the growing number of elderly individuals. PSS is dedicated to maintaining a personal approach.

Please keep Pathology Support Services in mind as part of the death protocol. It is better to know than wonder why.

Services Provided

  • Complete Autopsy – $2,500.00 to $4,500.00 (includes travel)

This includes a gross description of all organ systems and microscopic examination by a board certified pathologist, diagnosis and cause of death if different than that stated on the death certificate. A comprehensive report with a case summary in non-medical terms will be completed in approximately forty-five working days.

  • Neuropathology Consult – add $700.00

This includes the above plus a detailed examination of the brain by a board certified neuropathologist. This examination is only needed if there are questions regarding the mental or neurological status of the individual, such as seizure disorder or dementia.

This increases the report completion time to approximately ninety working days.

  • Toxicology – add $400.00

This includes the examination of blood and urine for specific prescription drugs.

Toxicology is normally not needed. This increases the report completion time to approximately ninety working days.

Brain only Autopsy – $1,800.00 to $3,500.00 (includes travel)

This is an acceptable choice if the only questions involve the mental status of the individual, such as the type of dementia involved.

This examination includes a detailed description of the brain with diagnosis and clinicopathological correlation by a board certified neuropathologist. A comprehensive report will be completed in approximately ninety working days.

Tissue collection and partial autopsies for toxic tort cases are time driven. Technician’s time is billed at $140.00/hour plus expenses with a $600.00 minimum and $1400.00/a day maximum. Pathologist time for case review is billed at $350.00/hour plus expenses (two hour minimum) civil court testimony is billed at $450.00/hour (two hour minimum).

The above prices are as of January 1, 2005 and may be subject to change without notice. Please call for confirmation.

FAQs

What is an autopsy? An autopsy is the systematic detailed external, internal and microscopic examination and description of the body and its organ systems after death, in which a qualified pathologist (a medical doctor trained in the study of disease) forms opinions and conclusions as to cause of death and course of illness.

Why should an autopsy be done? The primary purpose of an autopsy is to put to rest, any questions the family or physician may still have about the illness, cause of death, and/or any coexisting conditions. Establishing an exact cause of death can be a source of comfort to families. The autopsy may also determine whether there are inheritable problems and help other family through early diagnosis and treatment. Furthermore, what is learned through an autopsy on one patient may help save the lives of others with similar conditions.

Who can request for an autopsy? An autopsy can be requested either by the patient’s physician or by the family. The autopsy cannot be performed without the consent of the legally designated next-of-kin or responsible party. When giving consent, the family may make any restrictions, limitations, or special requests that will be honored.

Where is the autopsy done? The autopsy will be performed in the funeral home you have chosen. Most funeral homes are happy to be able to assist families in this process.

How does the family benefit from the autopsy?

  • Finding a specific cause of death may simply ease the stress of the unknown.
  • Finding that diagnosis and treatment was appropriate may be comforting to the family.
  • Discovering inherited or familial diseases may help families through early diagnosis and treatment and in family planning.
  • Discovering an infectious disease, for example tuberculosis, may lead to early diagnosis and treatment of other family members and close contacts.
  • Uncovering evidence of a work-related disease may lead to compensation for the family.
  • Providing crucial evidence for the settling of insurance claims or death benefits.
  • Knowledge that the death of a loved one has helped someone else to live longer may ease the profound sense of loss experienced by families.
  • The families medical history has become more and more important as new information is learned about many illnesses. You, your children, others in your family may want to know what medical conditions have occurred in the family. With an autopsy, you can know for sure

Will an autopsy affect funeral arrangements? No. There is no change in the appearance of the body following autopsy. Working with your funeral director PSS will attempt to schedule the autopsy so as not to affect funeral arrangements.

Is it possible to have a brain only autopsy? Yes. If the only questions you have can be answered by examining only the brain, this is a good option. Your doctor probably explained to you that with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, the diagnosis cannot be established with complete certainty during life. It is only through an autopsy that doctors can establish for sure what the cause of your relative’s dementia was. With an autopsy, you can know for sure.

How long does an autopsy take? It takes approximately thirty working days to issue a report to the family. The actual examination of the body takes from two to four hours, after which the funeral home can begin preparing for the funeral. The remainder of the time is taken up in the histology laboratory preparing tissue samples for microscopic examination and reviewing medical records. Some complex cases may take longer. Cases to establish the type of dementia are very complex and may take approximately ninety working days to complete a report.

Will there be a report? Yes the report that the next of kin receives will be a detailed description of each organ system with a list of anatomic findings, pathological diagnosis and cause of death. In addition there will be a summery explaining the pathological findings and course of illness in none medical terms.

About PPS

History

Pathology Support Services, Inc. (PSS) was founded in 1974 and incorporated in California in 1989. There are two divisions: Forensic and Anatomic. The Forensic Division managed the morgue and autopsy service for the Sacramento County Coroner’s Department for twenty-seven years and for the University of California, Davis, Sacramento Medical Center for thirteen years. We also provided service to Amador, El Dorado, and Glenn Counties.

In 1984 we began to receive calls from families and law firms to provide a private autopsy services. As a result of the increase in requests from families, hospitals, and law firms for private independent autopsies, PSS formed the Anatomic Division in 1995. Currently the Anatomic Division has offices in Sacramento, & Los Angeles, California, Miami, & Orlando, Florida, Nevada, and Texas. PSS has been involved in over 45,000 medical/legal and clinical autopsies. WE HAVE THE EXPERIENCE.

PSS provides accurate, high quality services to hospitals, institutions, government agencies, law firms, convalescent or funeral homes and families, nationwide. Our pathologists are all Board Certified in Anatomic Pathology, some are Board Certified in sub-specialties such as Clinical, Forensic and Neuropathology. All are fully qualified and experienced in court testimony.Our field technicians have two years of advanced Masters Degree training and ten years of experience.

Goals

  • Provide a professional, sensitive, confidential and independent service.
  • Take the ambiguity out of death for surviving family members and treating physicians.
  • Protect and ensure the integrity of our health care delivery system by providing an independent quality assurance procedure.
  • Collect data for evaluation of various diagnostic and treatment modalities.

Services Provided

  • Complete Autopsies to determine cause of death, course of illness and pathology involved.
  • “Brain only” Autopsies to determine the cause of dementia.
  • Tissue collection for DNA testing.
  • Tissue and organ collection for toxic tort civil litigation.
  • Tissue and organ collection for research.