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Forensic pathology services

Sparrow’s Forensic Services Division offers medical examiner services and complete forensic pathology services to area medical examiners.

Forensic Division services cannot be requested by family members or the general public. Only a medical examiner can request services.
Sparrow Health System provides transportation of bodies requiring post-mortem examination from your Michigan county to Sparrow Hospital.
The forensic pathologists conducting the examinations are fellowship trained and board certified in their specialty.
We work closely with other forensic specialists from Michigan State University when appropriate for the case being investigated.

How to send a case for a post-mortem examination (medical examiners ONLY)

Call 1.888.436.7366. You will hear a recorded message indicating which forensic services coordinator is on call and how to reach this individual.
Contact the coordinator, who will ask basic questions about the case, whether law enforcement personnel wish to attend, how we can contact those attending the examination, and whether transportation to Sparrow Hospital from your county is desired. If transport is needed, the coordinator will make these arrangements.
If needed, the coordinator will tell you an approximate start time for the examination.
It is most helpful if you know the funeral home the family has selected and the phone number of the funeral home. We will contact the funeral home after the examination and release the body to them.
Please be ready to provide a fax number or another contact number to send results to the medical examiner following the completion of the death certificate.
Most autopsies are completed in less than 24 hours following referral to Sparrow Forensic Services. Autopsies are not routinely performed on Sundays.

What happens after the examination?

After the post-mortem examination, the body is released to the funeral home selected by the family.
Bodies are not released until all testing is completed and identification of the body is confirmed in select cases. Samples for toxicology, fingerprints and samples for DNA analysis are obtained in all cases examined when available.
Following the examination, a preliminary report will be faxed or called to the medical examiner with the post-mortem examination findings.
Most final reports are finished within 60 days. Some cases, such as those requiring additional testing by consultants or those needing additional toxicology testing, can take longer. If a case involves a preliminary hearing in less than 60 days, the forensic pathologist should be informed of this as soon as possible, and the case will be given a higher priority.

24/7 Autopsy Coordinator

An Autopsy Coordinator is on-call 24/7 to help you with urgent issues or when our office staff may be temporarily away from the office.The Autopsy Coordinator can be contacted by calling our 24-hour Autopsy Referral line: 1.888.436.7366(1.888.4.FOREN6). The Autopsy Referral line is a recorded message and provides the pager number of the on-call Autopsy Coordinator.When paging the on-call Coordinator, please be sure to press the pound (#) key after entering the phone number where you want to be called.

Sparrow Forensic Pathology brochure

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