Facility and Statistics
The Autopsy Service is located in the Brady Memorial Lab at 310 Cedar Street. The Yale New Haven Hospital autopsy/morgue suite consists of an office, two autopsy rooms, a shared procedures room, a special procedures room, a refrigerated decedent storage room, and an observation room. The space is designed for the safety of the staff with negative pressure ventilation. The facility does not include a bereavement room as patient viewings should be done on the floor prior to the patient being brought to the morgue or at a funeral home.
All decedents are released from the designated area by a licensed funeral director, licensed embalmer, or a forensic technician from the Office of Chief Medical Examiner. Patients cannot be released from the hospital floors directly. There is an area where patients may be kept outside of cold storage for those religions that do not allow patients to be cooled. There is also a separate exit that can be used to release these patients to the funeral home. The staff will do their best to accommodate any religious needs. Please contact the office directly to discuss those needs and how the staff can help facilitate.
Since 2000, the lead autopsy technician has contacted each Connecticut hospital at the end of the calendar year to gather information on how many autopsies each hospital has performed. For the past 10 years, there have been an average of 730 autopsies per year in Connecticut hospitals. Yale New Haven Hospital performs the most hospital autopsies in the state of Connecticut with a 10-year average of 239 per year. Hartford Hospital has performed 95 autopsies on average for this same time period. All other hospitals average 15 autopsies a year since 2006. The information gathered shows a statewide decrease in autopsy rates since 2000.
Part of the reason for this disparity is the guidelines set by each hospital for case acceptance. Yale New Haven Hospital aspires to perform as many autopsies as possible as a service to the patients and their families. The Autopsy Service will perform an autopsy free of charge for decedents that pass away at Yale New Haven Hospital York Street and St. Raphael’s Campus, Bridgeport Hospital, Greenwich Hospital (pediatric only), and Veterans Affairs Connecticut Healthcare System–West Haven, as well as decedents that pass away outside the affiliate establishments and have been registered patients at YNHH–York Street and St. Raphael’s Campus as well as Bridgeport Hospital. Yale New Haven Hospital has recently begun offering private autopsy for a prepaid fee. Please visit the Requesting an Autopsy page for more information on who may have an autopsy performed at Yale New Haven Hospital.
Only a few hospitals will perform outside autopsies for a fee at the discretion of the onsite pathologist. These hospitals include Hartford, Lawrence and Memorial, St. Mary’s and Sharon. Both Day Kimball and Milford Hospitals have stopped performing autopsies altogether. A few hospitals have contracted their autopsy service to other facilities. Bridgeport, St. Raphael’s and the VA use Yale New Haven Hospital, Bradley Memorial Hospital sends their autopsies to New Britain Hospital, New Milford Hospital sends theirs to Danbury Hospital and both Backus Hospital and Windham Hospital send their autopsies to Hartford Hospital.