AUTHORIZATION FOR AUTOPSY
a. Consent. Usually the physician will request the autopsy. However, consent
from the spouse or the NOK of a deceased active duty military member must be
obtained in most cases. NOK consent is not required in the following cases:
(1) When death occurs while the member is serving as an aircrew member in
a military aircraft. In this case, an autopsy is mandatory.
(2) When necessary for the protection of the welfare of the military
community to determine the true cause of death. This may be possible for
epidemiological reasons, or for the purpose of securing information to complete a
military record (for example, to make a positive identification).
(3) When applicable state laws compel the performance of an autopsy
without the consent of the spouse or NOK.
(4) When death occurs in an overseas area where local laws, regulations, or
treaty agreements require an autopsy and the United States citizens are not exempt.
parts of the body not to be included in autopsy.
b. Form. Authorization or consent for the performance of an autopsy is
recorded on SF 523 (Clinical Record--Authorization for Autopsy). To complete the SF
523 follow these instructions:
(1) Item 1--Enter name and location of MTF; date and time.
(2) Item 2--Enter name of deceased person on whose remains the autopsy
will be performed.
(3) Item 3--Individual authorizing the autopsy. Identify the relationship and
signature of the NOK or the cited authority with hospital commander's signature in
signature block. This authority can be the hospital commander, state law, local law,
overseas regulation number, treaty or international agreement. The signature must be
(4) Patient Identification (at bottom of form): Enter name, grade, date,
medical facility, register number, and ward number.