Michigan Legacy Tissue Program

Home Page Our Team For Medical Professionals For Patients Contact Information
  • Rohit Mehra, MD
    Professor, Pathology
    Director, Michigan Legacy Tissue Program

  • Zachary Reichert, MD
    Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine
    Co-Director, Michigan Legacy Tissue Program

    (734) 647-8903

Information for Patients

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a rapid autopsy?

Rapid autopsy is a procedure performed soon after a patient’s passing to collect tumor tissue. It enables access to otherwise hard-to-obtain cancer tissue to advance research and understanding of that particular type of cancer.


How soon does a rapid autopsy need to be performed?

The goal is to perform the autopsy and tissue collection as quickly as possible and within 3 hours of passing. Throughout the entire process, we ensure that family members do not feel rushed and have adequate time with their loved ones after death. A key goal is to not disrupt the normal process of grieving and closure that is critical for the family at this time.


Where is the rapid autopsy performed?

The autopsy is performed in the Autopsy and Forensic Services facility at Michigan Medicine, in Ann Arbor, in full compliance with all applicable laws and/or regulations.


If my loved one or I have terminal cancer, when can participation in the Michigan Legacy Tissue Program be considered?

It is best to think about participation in MLTP weeks to months before the patient is actively dying so that all questions can be answered and the patient/family are comfortable with their decision. Though not preferable, autopsies can also be performed if needed with a shorter time frame.


Can we withdraw our permission to donate once we have registered for the program?

Yes, participation is completely voluntary and permission can be revoked at any time.


Does a rapid autopsy hinder viewing at the funeral?

No – an autopsy does not affect the face, arms, or legs in any way and will not prevent/alter a funeral viewing.


Are there any patient or family expenses for the rapid autopsy?

No- all expenses related to the autopsy and patient transport are covered by MLTP. The funeral arrangements would be covered by the patient/family.


Who can answer any questions I might have?

The MLTP team (Rohit Mehra, Zachary Reichert) can address any questions or concerns.