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.