College of American Pathologists

Restrictions on the Uses of Autopsy Materials

A medical examiner, coroner, or physician in lawful possession of an autopsy photograph or other visual image, regardless of format, should be afforded lawful authority after redacting and expunging all information identifying the decedent, including name, address, case and/or medical record number, Social Security number, and other uniquely identifying features in accordance with applicable federal, state and local statues, regulations and policies, and after rendering facial identity as anonymous as reasonably possible, to use such material for:

  • medical or scientific teaching or training purposes;
  • teaching or training of law enforcement personnel;
  • teaching or training of attorneys or others with a bona fide professional need to use or understand forensic science;
  • conferring with medical or scientific experts in the field of forensic science;
  • publication in a scientific or medical journal or textbook.

A medical examiner, coroner, or physician who has in good faith complied with this provision should not be subject to any penalty under federal, state or local law and/or statues.

Revision History

Adopted November 2002
Revised June 2010
Reaffirmed September 2013