The Autopsy specialty within the Department of Pathology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH) is led by director Elisheva Shanes, MD. Autopsy includes autopsy dedicated pathologists who are highly skilled in the correlation of clinical disease to the physical and microscopic findings discovered at autopsy. We have expertise in perinatal/fetal autopsy, adult autopsy and neuropathology, serving as a referral center for numerous hospitals in Illinois that are unable to perform autopsies as well as for the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center.
Teaching is one of the top priorities in the specialty. Pathology residents are involved in all adult and fetal autopsies that are performed at NMH, and medical students from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine spend one week of their surgical pathology rotation in Autopsy participating in cases. Teaching during autopsies is provided by the autopsy faculty, and the specialty employs two dieners and two autopsy dedicated pathologists’ assistants who are trained in prosection and are able to guide trainees in organ dissection. Residents are given didactic lectures on how to perform both fetal and adult autopsies and the different methodologies in practice. In addition, each of our pathologists organize autopsy gross conferences for residents, focusing on a wide variety of topics, including forensics, cardiac causes of death, congenital malformations and syndromes and fetal post-mortem radiology. The specialty also provides training in evisceration and organ dissection for students in the Pathologists’ Assistants Training Program at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science.
Autopsy faculty are currently in discussions with the Departments of Cardiology and Radiology to correlate medical imaging with autopsy findings in the emerging field of virtual autopsy. In conjunction with the Department of Internal Medicine, the specialty is also tracking changing trends in requests for autopsy after education and involvement of Internal Medicine residents in post-mortem examination of their deceased patients.
Over 300 autopsies are performed at NMH yearly, and our neuropathologists additionally perform over 100 neuropathologic examinations on forensic cases for the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. Our pathologists participate in Morbidity and Mortality conferences with the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Maternal Fetal Medicine and present clinical-pathologic correlation autopsy cases to trainees in the Department of Internal Medicine.
Assistant Professor of Pathology (Perinatal Pathology) and Pathology (Gynecologic Pathology)
Medical Director, Autopsy
Assistant Professor of Pathology (Perinatal Pathology) and Pathology (Autopsy)
Associate Professor of Pathology (Autopsy), Pathology (Cardiac Pathology) and Pharmacology
Professor of Pathology (Experimental Pathology) and Pathology (Autopsy)