Undertakers are basically preparators


If you are currently confronted with a death in your environment, we would like to express our condolences for the first time and wish you a lot of strength for the time to come. In connection with this sad event, certain forensic medical questions are sure to arise.

The following answers to the most frequently asked questions are intended to give you an insight into the processes involved in death at the Institute of Forensic Medicine.

Why is a forensic medical examination ordered for the deceased?

As a rule, orders for forensic medical examinations are initiated by the public prosecutor's office in the event of a so-called extraordinary death. This means that the doctor who determines the death cannot assume a natural death and / or the on-site inspection (legal inspection) by a forensic doctor does not help to clarify the cause of death. The examination at the Institute of Forensic Medicine is intended, for example, to exclude the influence of third parties or to identify a person.


How should one imagine the forensic medical examination?

First, a layered x-ray (computed tomography) is made of the deceased person. This is followed by the autopsy by the forensic doctor. Further investigations are initiated on the basis of the results obtained. Possible further methods are microscopy of tissue sections (histology), toxicological examinations of body fluids or organs or molecular biological examinations for the creation of DNA profiles.


When is the body released for burial?

After the deceased person's arrival, the autopsy is usually started on the same day or the following working day. Since samples are also taken during the autopsy for any further examinations, the deceased can be released for burial after just a few working days. In special circumstances, a longer stay in the institute is seldom expected.

After we or the public prosecutor's office have released the body, the deceased can be picked up by the undertaker.


How can relatives get access to the examination documents?

Our client is usually the public prosecutor's office. The reports of our investigations are always sent to the client and not to third parties. We ask for your understanding that we are not allowed to inform you directly. As a relative, however, you can apply to the public prosecutor to inspect the documents after the investigation has been completed.


Where can I find out about the current status of the examinations?

Depending on where the deceased was found, please contact the public prosecutor's office in Basel-Stadt or Basel-Landschaft directly. There you will receive information about when the body can be expected to be released for burial.


Is it possible to say goodbye to the deceased at the Institute of Forensic Medicine?

A farewell to the deceased in the Institute of Forensic Medicine is basically possible and useful in cases where a farewell at another location, e.g. B. is not possible due to time pressure or logistical difficulties. However, we recommend that you plan a farewell with the undertaker whenever possible. The ambience of the Institute for Forensic Medicine is inadequate for such an occasion.


As a relative, can I also order an autopsy?

Relatives can arrange a forensic medical examination as a private assignment. This is possible in cases where the public prosecutor has either not been involved or has not commissioned any further investigations to clarify the cause of death. In this case you are our client and you will be sent the investigation reports directly. We would be happy to inform you about the possible useful examinations and the expected costs.