I work closely with families who treat autopsy recording like organ donation -- to give to make a difference. When they consent, I record and live stream. Our cases now go into our App or Desktop. For Redditters with a memory I am new and awkwardly overposted last year. Apologies and have hopefully learned my lesson and slowed my role. Please make sure you make that the focus. Or, I am happy to share about the autopsy world. Seemed fun to do.

Proof: https://www.autopsy.online/welcome

Comments: 921 • Responses: 61  • Date: 

inot721370 karma

Have you ever watched the video and found something that you missed during the actual procedure?

Autopsy_Chicago1508 karma

No. But we just had a case with a massive recent MI. The finding was a subtle color changes over a broad area of heart muscle. And it jumped out dramatically in the photo. Digital is not the same as the naked eye. Sometimes I'm arm deep in the case and will forget to remove the patient label if we photograph and also video. Then I have to crop it out if I see it in the video. It never goes out on any of our platforms or live stream.
Livestreaming is different and we put a lot of stop-gaps in for patient confidentiality. Video is a go pro on my forehead and I know I can crop out later.

uhohhitstrav736 karma

Assuming MI is Myocardial Infarction

Autopsy_Chicago524 karma

yes. Thank you myocardial infarction.

sentimental_goat240 karma

I'm surprised no one has asked you yet, or maybe I missed it in your profile, but have you gotten used to the smell, or you just breath through the mouth when it's particularly bad?

Autopsy_Chicago515 karma

Pretty used to it. Used to be a purist - I want to smell everything. Know the whole case.

Now, for a decomp - a nurse taught me - there's this magic peppermint you can put a drop on your mask. Totally makes it breathable. No problem doing that.

23andrewb62 karma

Pretty sure they had a massive Michigan

Autopsy_Chicago28 karma

A massive Miami.

meawait54 karma

Ha ha “arm deep”. Is that coroner humor?

Autopsy_Chicago83 karma

No. Not at all. Not my speed. Just descriptive.

assassassandtitties399 karma

How many other people do this?

Autopsy_Chicago601 karma

None that I know of. It's like 21st century autopsy amphitheater, IMO. Surgical livestreaming is rare. I have not heard of another autopsy live stream, if that's your question. Video is occasional for medicolegal. Photography common.

amdphreak399 karma

When this thread is dead, are you going to autopsy it live?

Autopsy_Chicago244 karma

Ha ha

bemuzed1254 karma

Did you work for yourself? If not, how did you approach your boss about recording/streaming?

Did you have to clear this with your respective Board, associations, etc?

What was the response from all of the above with your concept?

Autopsy_Chicago633 karma

I work for myself. The beauty of running my own practice. I spent 8 years building my practice, have read every autopsy law in every state legal code in the U.S., spent 3 years writing about autopsy legislation, studied the uniform anatomic gift act, reviewed 20 different hospital consent forms and combined every feature into my own consent, reviewed research practices, combed every inch of the hipaa law before ever attempting this. And most importantly, I don't pressure the families. I understand that they want to do this to help the death "not be in vain" and believe in the fundamentals of informed consent. It, amazing, becomes a healing part of the greif process like body donation or organ donation.

Don't do it unless you know what your doing. (That's my cocky doctor side)

AndrewIsOnline704 karma

See I’ve just been doing it as a hobby at home, it’s nice to talk to a professional about it sometimes.

Autopsy_Chicago217 karma

Ha! You should watch the Death Investigation in America series from a few years ago. Meet the blind coroner, or the one who does cases in his garage. You'll have good company.

heyyouguys01549 karma

Have you listened to the Swindled podcast? There’s an episode about a company that swindled organs to “sell” them! It’s titled The Body Snatcher

Autopsy_Chicago43 karma

No. Tx. Might check it out.

Lone_Beagle35 karma

There's a difference between being "cocky" because you put in the work and really know what you are doing, vs. the person who just thinks they know what they are doing...

Autopsy_Chicago60 karma

Yes. Guilty of some anxious false modesty. I'll think about that. Thanks for calling out.

Don't do it unless you know what your doing. Period.

Moderator-Admin21 karma

So who pays for the autopsies? Is it the hospitals that ship you the deceased and then they pay you to figure out the cause of death?

Or is your income mostly from subscriptions to your video/streaming service?

Autopsy_Chicago127 karma

Ah, a lot to back up behind the question.

I have but typically don't work with hospitals. When I do, they foot the bill.

My role is to function as an independent check and balance on hospital and medical exminers, who typically have a lot power in a case. The family then has an alternative to trust, or in the case of the ME, a second opinion. Especially when they worry about malpractice, or if there' s a trust issue with a coroner/medical examiner.

The families contract with me directly. They do not pay for video. We do not charge for that. They pay for an autopsy for closure, and we may or may not record if they wish.

Our wish is that the subscriptions will start to tip the scales, because then we can do more pro bono for families, and record more for education, etc.

radioaktvt191 karma

What would you say has been the most surprising cause of death you have come across in your career? Like where the initial diagnosis was way off.

Autopsy_Chicago541 karma

Often medical examiners will clear a case, especially elderly in nursing homes. When they do that, I can take the case if the family wants the autopsy. I had a case where the patient was cleared. The body bruising on his palm, side of his face, shoulder and side. He denied anything but tripping to his family. And then it turned out to be a rash of batteries of which he was one victim. The medical examiner got involved.

But the most surprising was a recurrent pneumonia that wouldn't go away for 6 months. Despite treatment. under the chest was mold -- like on old cheese in the back of the fridge -- he had an undiagnosed fungal infection and needed antifungals not antibiotics.

benkenobi5168 karma

Are lung fungal infections common? And would you be able to even check while the patient is living?

Autopsy_Chicago244 karma

They are notoriously a missed diagnosis. Typically go along with diabetic and immunocompromised. It's something to know to think of with this patient's history of long course unresponsive to antibiotics. But did not happen.

zohnay147 karma

Do you every have medical students do a pathology rotation with you to learn more about the ins/outs of forensic pathology?

Autopsy_Chicago150 karma

Yes. Love students. Not a forensic pathologist - more of a hospital pathologist (heart attack stroke). But love students.

Brooklyn8828124 karma

Do you ever see things that could improve a populations health mental or physical in your work?

Autopsy_Chicago316 karma

Smoking smoking smoking

Diet diet diet.

----> Heart attack, stroke, emphysema, cancer ---> my autopsy table.

Also, there's one particular condition (well a few) people (and clinicians) don't know about or check for:

Bicuspid valve (looks like a heart attack because is later in life, but is often inherited). Aorta tears open. Two (bi) parts (cusps) the aortic valve.

Marfan syndrome: Tall stretchy people who also tear open their aorta, but can be followed and treated if diagnaosed.

Big one: Alzheimer's disease is usually sporadic (means not inherited). Families worry. But if there's no family histoy onset is elderly, typicallynot inherited.

Same for cancer. Colon cancer in an 80 year old without family history is typically mother nature doing her thing after a life time - not inherited.

Mental health. It's ok to advocate. Trust your gut feeling if you don't think the doctor/provider is saying/doing something that feels right, speak up. Either learn or find out but participate.

And a ton more.

DocDiddlyMD114 karma

How much is the individual subscription?

Autopsy_Chicago141 karma

Thank you. I got Reddit-slammed last time for seeming to turn this into a marketing session (not my goal). If you have a way, message me or via [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) Tx.

MrDustyDuke91 karma

how do you deal with this kind of job mentality??

Autopsy_Chicago242 karma

Take breaks. Bike in Wisconsin (The "Kettles" as they say - Kettle Morraine Valley). See Toy Story 4 and stay away from horror. For the balance.

But care about the family and do a good job with the case. That feels great and is often energizing to hear them feel "at peace." It's a different practice from a coroner becuase I work closely the family, meet them, talk to them before and after. That becomes the focus, and the dead body is there to find the information that will help them feel better. I say it's like changing a diaper. If it's someone else's kid - yuck. Poop. If it's you kid, you love them and you do it. These are my families. (cue angel chorus....). So I love it.

And I write. Poetry and fiction.

5-HolesInTheFence15 karma

I don't have anything significant to add, just wanted to say that I live in the Kettle Moraine area and it's a great place for hiking and biking!

Also am in the medical field, but as a medical laboratory scientist, so this is all super interesting to me!

Autopsy_Chicago16 karma

Lucky you. Know the "Fire wud" Ice cream shop in Dundee? How about the Lumber Inn.

Love it. Can't wait to go back.

God's country.


plainrane88 karma

Do you cover the faces?

Is there a part of a body that when you look at it it makes you feel like this is a person and not a body? I don't know if that makes sense. When I did anatomy and physiology we had a cadaver lab and we had to cover the hands because it made people uncomfortable seeing them. Like it made it more of a person than a thing.

Autopsy_Chicago140 karma

Yes, always. Part of the agreement with the family is that we can have people learn from their loved one but we'll protect the confidentialiaty. Face, name labels, tatoos, etc. Off with the sound for confidential discussions, etc.

I remember that from med school. The hands are particulary emotional -- fingernal polish adds to it.

It's always a person's face, mostly. When you're in the middle of it focusing in the chest cavity, it's all work and investigation although you don't every forget it's a person.

Teenagers and babies it's the whole thing from head to toe. No one part of the person is different or less emotionally laden.

Magnetic_Eel110 karma

At my med school gross anatomy lab always starts with the cadaver face down and we do the back structures for the first block. That way students can get used to working with a real human body for a little while before they ever see his/her face.

Autopsy_Chicago94 karma

Sensitive and practical. Interesting.

mdcd4u2c32 karma

I can see this going the other way too though. Without seeing the face, students might start off not seeing the human side and then when you flip to the anterior muscles, they've already developed habits. Unfortunately, I'm speaking from experience because we did the same thing at our school.

Autopsy_Chicago30 karma

Yes. I wondered that too. We started face up.

Rojo42477 karma

Ever consider speedruns?

Autopsy_Chicago49 karma

I don't know what that is.

Kataclysm63 karma

I bought your app last year and I absolutely love it! I'm no doctor (I work in I.T.) but I have always been interested in the body, and being able to see these autopsies and have them clearly explained in the manner you do is incredible.

Question: What is your favorite animal and why? And since you're a writer, if it pleases you, please phrase your answer in the form of a haiku.

Autopsy_Chicago135 karma

Ha! Challenge - no leash.

Summer's scattering feet can

Chase the ball. Or bark.

yodavid154 karma

what is your advice for someone who's starting on this field?

Autopsy_Chicago175 karma

Care about the family.

Presume that everything you say and do, every word on your report can be a 1 ton knife sitting on a nerve or the kindest most gentle breeze soothing a tragedy

So just be clear and through and compassionate.

Also -- if you don't know, wait to talk. It's worse to give information if you know it could change.

And more. Read my book (if and when I write it...).

Biscuitthepug54 karma

What qualifications are needed, and do you recommend it? I've always been interested in medical stuff, but schooling is proving too much, so gave up on being a vet. Oh, and the smells. I am now used to the smell of death (Practicing taxidermist), but do you reckon human decay/innards smell different than animal, like squirrel and armadillo smell different? Sorry for the rambling, I'm tired. Thank you for this!

Autopsy_Chicago61 karma

Fascinating. I wouldn't anticipate much of a difference between animals. You should do an AMA! I couldn't do the comparison for you. Humans don't smell much at first (like a meat store doesn't smell, really). And then it's pretty similar.

M.D. Pathology Residency. I love it, although wasn't till later in residency that I could say that dt sleepless call nights. But pretty cool to have an impact on a family and do something interesting. We need good people everywhere so whatever floats your boat.

Innocent_Convict53 karma

Have you ever had a body come in and thought 'GAT DAMN, this guy went out the hard way'?

Autopsy_Chicago103 karma

That sounds like medical examiner coping language.

I rotated at the ME in residency. The guy had a tattoo on his penis "Eat Me." They called him a pig.

I don't think about families that way.

I had a 12 year old who went joy riding with some other tweenish teens after a parent handed over the keys. They drove the vehicle in to a tree. The bottom half of the spine was two inches ahead of the top and took the aorta with it. Horrible tragedy.

PlasticGirl42 karma

WOW that last one! That must have been a violent crash. Was the cause of death from internal bleeding?

Autopsy_Chicago46 karma

Yes. Tore aorta and inferior vena cava through and through.

Faeidal29 karma

Oof. Terrible, but at least it was fast.

Autopsy_Chicago32 karma

Yes. Correct.

Vandechoz44 karma

my kid seems to have an interest in the human body, especially internal organs

can I show them an autopsy without making them a serial killer?

Autopsy_Chicago84 karma

Based on your question, no, but not because of an autopsy video. Something tells me it might be too late.

bigjamg42 karma

Are you ever shown a before death photo of the deceased and how does that effect your mentality during the autopsy, if any?

Autopsy_Chicago83 karma

Those are amazing and shocking. The life in the person radiates out of the picture in a way I can never imagine looking that the body. Suddenly they have a personality. If it's before, it's usually the family has shown me during -- we have a family meeting before the case. It's just one more thing that builds a connection between me and them, on top of their sharing the "medical history" and all the stories that are part of it. Doesn't change the work, just strengthens the commitment to getting in there and making sure to help how I can.

IReallyLikeAvocadoes39 karma

How desensitized would you say you are to corpses and general human gore? Is there anything that still freaks you out in autopsies, even if just a little?

Autopsy_Chicago71 karma

Corpses, and it was not that way a few years ago, probably a used to it now. I recall recently walking in and chatting with a funeral director and suddenly telling my assistant -- wasn't that a bit odd, saying a warm hello and witnessed by two still bodies in the room.

Gore - not desensitized at all. Avoid it. Hate it. People say "your an autopsy pathologist!" I don't care. I'll never go to horror movie. Don't seek out images or video's. It's different when it's my case becuase it's also my family so that's my focus and I'll do the work I need to to help.

LifeIsDeBubbles38 karma

You seem like an intelligent, caring person. How can I assign you to perform my autopsy in the event of my death?

Autopsy_Chicago71 karma

First I'll take the question literally.

Not everyone has an autopsy. It's not required. You don't need to plan for it.

The state decides if they take it, but if they release the case then your next of kin will be able to make a request.

Legally, in Illinois you can also request your own, but it's best to talk with your legal next of kin. There's no "first person consent" like organ donation so you'd need their participation to make it work.

If you want for some reason to have one/donate to science that's another story. I run Autopsy Center of Chicago. We also do things like brain donation to research and sometime, cancer/tumor donation to research. And of course, video for education.

Or if this is just a wish -- then, simply, thank you for your kind words.

Banana_splitz34 karma

When someone’s death is ruled “natural causes” what exactly does that mean? Does that mean there was no determined actual cause of death?

Autopsy_Chicago60 karma

No. It means the cause was a medical condition.

It's a "manner of death" and there are 5.






Undertemined is it's own category.

Autopsy_Chicago46 karma

Also, medical malpractice is, although debated, commonly considered a Natural cause of death, even if the family has strong feelings, etc.

He11oK1tty26 karma

Is there a clip you could share or some sort of other info we can look at? $10 isn’t a lot of money but I’m curious but unsure what to actually see.

Autopsy_Chicago29 karma

Sure. Go to the home page of www.autopsy.online There are some demos. That's the desktop platform for schools, mostly. But the videos are up on the Autopsy App (minus the interactive/searchable/school-related stuff). App's at www.autopsychicago.com/app but it sounds like you found it.

He11oK1tty22 karma

Lol my crap phone decided to mix two videos and I heard “this is the cerebellum...and the optic nerves...etc etc” while you were clipping away at fat in a leg! Anyway, great content and will be super helpful with school. I’m downloading the app now.

Autopsy_Chicago6 karma


Beeardo13 karma

Seeing you flip a skull up like its a lid on a jar gave me maybe one of the most odd feelings ive ever felt in my life.

Autopsy_Chicago50 karma

One of the strangest and most profound experiences in medical school in my plastic surgery rotation. Not an autopsy. A surgery. A baby with a cranial deformity and bone restructuring. Did not see the early part of the case. When all done, they rolled the face back up and she was suddenly a person again. Just incredible.

He11oK1tty2 karma


Autopsy_Chicago3 karma


Ingram252523 karma

How's it going?

Autopsy_Chicago34 karma

Oh just fabulous. Thank you.

pandaramencat23 karma

Have you ever saw the movie “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” on Netflix? If so, what was your thought on it? If not, you should go watch it its really good!

Autopsy_Chicago48 karma

Never. Ever. Ever.


I do it for a living. As I say, Me: Disney.

Or green mountains of Wisconin or a summer fest band.


Vepr762X54R23 karma

Do you review medical records from when the person was alive before the autopsy?

Let's assume patient died because of an unrelated issue like a car crash.

For example, patient saw a doctor repeatedly for some ailment (headaches, testicular pain, knee pain etc) do you take a special look at that body part? Do you contact that doctor so he can be part of the autopsy? Do you report your findings to that doctor?

Autopsy_Chicago40 karma

Yes. Can review medical records and do often.

Never speak to the doctor unless the family authorizes. The case is confidential and they may be litigating.

Family will request records.

I can't even acknowledge I know the family or the patient unless they give me permission.

wimpyroy23 karma

What shoes do you wear at work?

Autopsy_Chicago30 karma

Let me check.

Skecher shoes.

New Balance sneakers sometimes for a case.

gutterandstars22 karma

There's an audience for livestreaming autopsies?!! What's the most number of people who have watched one,,,??

Autopsy_Chicago29 karma

Over a million when we started. Then Facebook, I'm guessing, changed the algorithm

800K, 200k and so on.

Now, when we do it, it'll be on the Autopsy App or Autopsy.Online desktop.

duotenator21 karma

When is your next live stream?

Autopsy_Chicago39 karma

Wish I knew. Depends on family consent. I don't control that. Right now I'm also focusing on straight recording because we're getting the Autopsy App up and going and it's just simpler. But once, it's a little more full of content and going, I'll get back to live streaming.

Baewoolannos15 karma

As someone who has necrophobia, specifically fear of corpses. What are some ways to desensitize slowly and bulid up to watching your content?

Autopsy_Chicago75 karma

Why is that a goal? Go enjoy living stuff. We need sensitive people everywhere.

msiekkinen14 karma

"Individual" subscription has a "pricing" link but doesn't show anything, contact page asks if we're a student student/educator/medical professional/administrator.

Can the general public that's curious subscribe or do we need an official school affiliation?

Autopsy_Chicago17 karma

We stopped the student subscription because we're engaging schools more now and want to be sure costs are through the schools not additional for students. I don't want to do this here because (even today a little) the Reddit police slam me for marketing (which I'm not). But if you can message or try email [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) that will work.

cantsaywisp9 karma

Have you experienced any paranormal activity?

Autopsy_Chicago37 karma

No. I get asked that tho. In medical school a student from the anatomy table over -- sometimes you have to tuck the arm out and get between it and the body to do your work -- especially for a larger patient -- another medical student took the opportunity to prank me and moved the arm around me as though the patient were alive again and succeeded in getting a scare out me. Medical students....

thewafflestompa8 karma

I don’t know if this has been asked, but what was your first autopsy like? I imagine it’s a little different than gutting a fish? I couldn’t but i respect those who get the job done!

Autopsy_Chicago22 karma

I was excited. An eager first year resident. They started you on babies because the anatomy is so compact and manageable and easy to see all the relatonships. I don't remember the case. Now I find babies (any children) extremely difficult. But I was more "sciency" back then and am more emotional plus science-application now so I respond to the case differently.

[deleted]1 karma


Autopsy_Chicago21 karma

You mean recording?


My husband was a science teacher.

My wife watched all the animal shows, she would love it.

My sister had cancer and couldn't be an organ donor. She wanted to do something.

I watch all the videos on YouTube and find this fascinating. Let's do it.

Sure, if it helps someone learn, I want to do it.

I'm a doctor/nurse/er tech I want to give back.

I'm looking for an alternative to body donation.

And so on.

slowsunday1 karma

Where can we see these videos?

Autopsy_Chicago2 karma

The autopsy App.



Or desktop is for schools. autopsy.online

drkirienko1 karma

Why did you use the same photo for both the bladder and the prostate on the body map portion of your site?

Autopsy_Chicago3 karma

The body map does not end with the photo. They click into a video. That is the thumbnail for the video. It shows both organs. Subscribers know this.

SeaOfDinks1 karma

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.

Is there any concern at all about people viewing your material with the wrong intention? Not for educational purposes to help people, but instead perhaps for macabre reasons?

Autopsy_Chicago8 karma

Yes, of course. And we banned a lot of people off social media when we posted more there.

But most people are genuinely curious and that outweighs the outliers. It's a fascinating look and I want people to learn.

That's partly why we've gone to the App. Free on social media attracts a drop-in trolling. And a bit a few bucks ensures a commitment. Then we can live stream and be a bit more ensured of the group.

tenaciousNIKA0 karma

I think this AMA would be more interesting if your first sentence ended “without family consent” instead. Do you agree?

Autopsy_Chicago1 karma

You might be the first. Just getting ready to knock on the door.