New Autopsy Consent Form

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 Autopsy Consent Form

Download the New VS-200 Postmortem Examination or Autopsy Consent Form

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Who is Required To Use This Form

This form MUST be completed by the person authorized to give consent to a postmortem examination or autopsy before such procedure can be conducted [CCP Art. 49.32].

This form IS NOT required if an autopsy is ordered by a Justice of the Peace or Medical Examiners as part of an death inquest or ordered by the Texas Department of Criminal Justices under Texas Government Code Sec. 501.055 [CCP Art. 49.31].


Persons Authorized To Consent to Postmortem Examination or Autopsy

Consent for a postmortem examination or autopsy may be given by any following persons, who are reasonably available, in the order of priority listed:

  • the spouse of the decedent;
  • the person acting as guardian of the person of the decedent at the time of death or the executor or administrator of the decedent's estate;
  • the adult children of the decedent;
  • the parents of the decedent; and
  • the adult siblings of the decedent.

If there is more than one person of the same relation entitled to give consent to a postmortem examination or autopsy, consent may be given by a member of the same relationship unless another person of the same relationship files an objection with the physician, medical examiner, justice of the peace, or county judge.  If an objection is filed, the consent may be given only by a majority of the persons of the same relationship of the class who are reasonably available. An example of this would be multiple surviving adult children.

A person may not give consent if, at the time of the decedent's death, a person granted higher priority as listed above is reasonably available to give consent or to file an objection to a postmortem examination or autopsy.

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Anatomical Gift by Decedent Prior To Death

An anatomical gift of a donor's body or part may be made during the life of the donor for the purpose of transplantation, therapy, research, or education by

  • the donor,

    • if the donor is an adult; or
    •  if the donor is a minor and is:

      • emancipated; or
      • authorized under state law to apply for a driver's license because the donor is at least 16 years of age and:

        • circumstances allow the donation to be actualized prior to 18 years of age; and
        • an organ procurement organization obtains signed written consent from the minor's parent, guardian, or custodian;
  • an agent of the donor, unless the medical power of attorney or other record prohibits the agent from making an anatomical gift; a parent of the donor, if the donor is an unemancipated minor; or
  • the donor's guardian.

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Anatomical Gift of Decedent’s Remains by Someone Other Than the Decedent

Unless the decedent has refused to make an anatomical gift in writing prior to death, an anatomical gift of a decedent's body or part for the purpose of transplantation, therapy, research, or education may be made by any member of the following classes of persons who is reasonably available, in the order of priority listed:

  • an agent of the decedent at the time of death who could have made an anatomical gift under Section 692A.004(2) immediately before the decedent's death;
  • the spouse of the decedent;
  • adult children of the decedent;
  • parents of the decedent;
  • adult siblings of the decedent;
  • adult grandchildren of the decedent;
  • grandparents of the decedent;
  • an adult who exhibited special care and concern for the decedent;
  • the persons who were acting as the guardians of the person of the decedent at the time of death;
  • the hospital administrator; and
  • any other person having the authority to dispose of the decedent's body.

 If there is more than one member of a class listed above entitled to make an anatomical gift, an anatomical gift may be made by a member of the class unless that member or a person to may be receiving the anatomical gift and knows of an objection by another member of the class.  If an objection is known, the gift may be made only by a majority of the members of the class who are reasonably available.

A person may not make an anatomical gift if, at the time of the decedent's death, a person in a class higher than them is reasonably available to make or to object to the making of an anatomical gift.

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Death Inquest by Medical Examiners

Some deaths may require a medical examiner to conduct an investigation or inquest and cause of death certification which may include an autopsy. [CCP Art. 49.25 Sec 6].  These include:

  • A body was found and the cause and circumstances of the death are unknown.
  • The death is believed to be an unnatural death from a cause other than a legal execution (accident, suicide, or homicide).
  • The death occurred in prison or in jail.
  • The death occurred within 24 hours of admission to a Hospital
  • The death occurred without medical attendance.
  • The physician is unable to certify the cause of death.
  • The deceased is under six (6) years of age.

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Nonaffiliated Physicians

Before signing this form, a representative of the hospital or other institution where the death occurred is required to inform a person authorized to consent to a postmortem examination or autopsy that they may request that a physician who is not affiliated with the hospital or other institution where the death occurred to perform the postmortem examination or autopsy at another hospital or institution.

A person authorized to consent to a postmortem examination or autopsy may also have a physician that is not affiliated with the hospital or institution where the death occurred review the postmortem examination or autopsy conducted by a physician affiliated with the hospital or other institution where the deceased person died.

A person requesting a nonaffiliated physician to perform or review a postmortem examination or autopsy is responsible for any additional costs incurred as a result of the nonaffiliated physician's performance or review of the examination or autopsy.

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Last updated August 01, 2012