Pathology Assistants

Pathology Assistants strive to:

  • Pathology Assistant workingEnsure accurate and reliable assistance to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner, Deputy Coroners, and Fellows in all phases of the autopsy.
  • Ensure that each body autopsied at the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office is treated with dignity and respect, and prepared for the family’s funeral home in a professional and acceptable manner.
  • Provide the best possible assistance, now and in the future, so that the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner may determine the cause and manner of death.

General Autopsy Procedures:

Generally, an autopsy involves a detailed external physical examination of a body, which includes a description of visible injuries, followed by a detailed internal examination of a body.

The internal examination includes inspection of:
  • Organs, including their weights and any abnormalities seen
  • Other soft tissues and bones and collection of body fluids.

Pathology EquipmentEach organ is weighed, dissected, and small samples are placed in a formalin fixative solution and stored for later examination as needed. All other remaining organs are returned with the body.

Microscopic examination of tissues and toxicology testing is performed on most autopsies. All duties performed by the pathology assistant during the autopsy will be under the direct supervision of the pathologist.

Job Description of Pathology Assistant:

  • Assist Pathologists in autopsy room activities.
  • Assist Pathologists in evisceration, as well as, any and all other aspects of the autopsy such as examination of the body, including locating and retrieving foreign bodies such as bullets.
  • Responsible for cleaning autopsy area.
  • Taking and processing x-rays, including maintaining x-rays, and keeping x-ray equipment in good condition.
  • Responsible for keeping all autopsy room equipment in working condition and readiness.
  • Ordering and keeping stock of autopsy room supplies.


  • Associate degree in anatomy, biology, forensic science, funeral services, or related field and
  • Three (3) years of experience working in a Medical Examiner’s Office, hospital, or funeral home/mortuary; or
  • An equivalent combination of education, training, and experience.

All funeral arrangements are done according to each family’s individual wishes through the funeral home of their choice. No embalming or funeral arrangements are performed at the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office.


Contact Information

Paul Wheaton
Supervisor, Pathology Assistants