R. Ross Reichard, M.D., Discusses New CAP Checklist for Forensic Autopsies
According to a recent article in CAP Today, the latest edition of the CAP ccreditation program "anatomic pathology checklist" now contains an all-new section on forensic autopsy pathology, which will be used to inspect forensic autopsy services provided in hospitals.
“Until now, CAP-accredited labs were doing forensics without detailed guidance for these specialized undertakings. We felt strongly that certain standards needed to be called out to ensure things are done in a proper way,” says Ross Reichard, M.D., Chair of the CAP Forensic Pathology Committee and Associate Professor of Pathology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science, in Rochester, Minnesota.
The forensic autopsy checklist requirements will appear in the anatomic pathology checklist only when a laboratory indicates (on its activity menu) it performs forensic autopsies.
According to Dr. Reichard, the new requirements provide a framework for excellence in forensic autopsy pathology. “This is meant to afford those working in accredited labs support in knowing they are doing these autopsies to a high standard,” he says. “These requirements have been vetted by forensic pathologists in CAP’s Forensic Pathology Committee, so they are significant.”
Dr. Reichard also commented, “Labs will gain additional guidance and credibility through the checklist. When someone asks, ‘What did your lab do on this forensic case?’ a pathologist can say, ‘We followed these checklist requirements, vetted through CAP’s Forensic Pathology Committee. We are accredited by CAP.’ That is a pretty robust defense of your process.”