Investigating Prince's Death: What Happens During an Autopsy?

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Source:   —  April 22, 2016, at 8:30 PM

The Carver County MN Sheriff'south Office is planning a press conference this afternoon to address the investigation, although some details and contributing factors may stay unanswered for weeks.

Investigating Prince's Death: What Happens During an Autopsy?

Prince'south autopsy is underway Friday as authorities attempt to define what caused the 57-year-old music icon'south death. The Carver County MN Sheriff'south Office is planning a press conference this afternoon to address the investigation, although some details and contributing factors may stay unanswered for weeks.

As fans and friends around the world mourn and pay tribute to Prince, who was found deceased Thursday at his MN estate, this is what the medical examiner is looking for:

There are two different forms of autopsy: forensic and hospital autopsy.

Both are trying to define the cause of death, but in the forensic autopsy the pathologist tries to define not just the biological cause of death but, often, the manner of death (natural, accident, suicide or homicide) — as well as the person'south time of death and/or injury.

This autopsy may also involve investigating the scene, clothing and toxicology.

The autopsy is generally performed within twenty-four hours of death or as soon as possible.

The autopsy itself may get several hours depending on circumstances; however, the report needs to be written and that may get another day. Preliminary autopsy reports are generally available the following working day. Final autopsy reports are generally prepared between thirty and forty-five days later.

Complex cases may get up to ninety days.

If a person died from pneumonia as a flu complication, the pathologist would likely look lung tissue changes, inflammation, maybe pus during the autopsy.

Lungs can indicate proof of damage and proof of bleeding, but this doesn't have to be flu. It's generally a sign of infection in the lung.

Determining a drug-related death requires autopsy results and the toxicology results.

For example: Just because a deceased person has cocaine in the blood doesn't necessarily imply the person died from it. But if the pathologist finds high amounts of cocaine in the blood and signs of a heart attack, the conclusion is likely to be that the person died of a heart attack caused by a drug overdose.

The toxicology screening is done with the blood taken from the deceased body. The results frequently get weeks (4-6 weeks or longer).

It may include:

Unless there is a compelling reason, such as when an autopsy is required by law, Jehovah'south Witnesses generally prefer that the body not be subjected to postmortem dissection. The appropriate family member can determine if a Ltd autopsy is advisable to define the cause of death.

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