Forensic Pathology Rotation

Residents participate in a one-month rotation at the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office during the latter part of the program. As one can imagine, this office handles all manner of cases a Medical Examiner's office may encounter. Residents perform forensic autopsies under the direction of experienced Forensic Pathologists. Residents also have an opportunity to go to an at-scene examination, accompanying the investigator to the scene of death. The coroner's office has modern facilities, with many ancillary studies available on a routine basis. Gross and microscopic pathology are covered, and neuropathology consultants hold brain cutting and consultation sessions each week. Follow-up of cases is provided with faxes of finalized reports sent to the resident for all autopsies in which they participated. Approximately 25 autopsies are performed during this month, ensuring an overall adequate number of autopsies for board eligibility.

During the forensic pathology rotation the resident is expected to attend a weekly didactic lecture on basic forensic pathology. In addition, in-house conferences include a Mode conference in which equivocal suicide cases are examined by psychological autopsy and weekly forensic science seminars. Exposure to the Toxicology Laboratory studies also is available during the rotation.