You can help give a family the opportunity to understand the reasons for their loss by referring their case for a perinatal postmortem examination. We acknowledge this is an incredibly difficult time for the family and also a very personal decision.
All non-coronial perinatal post-mortems are now managed by this new statewide service – the NSW Perinatal Postmortem Service.
Please contact our Care Coordinator as soon as possible who can help:
- provide the treating team with information to determine if a postmortem examination and the ancillary tests available will be of benefit
- connect the perinatal pathologist with the family to help answer questions and explain the types of tests involved
- with the consent process and documentation required
- assist with transport arrangements
- ensure the family’s individual cultural and religious needs are met.
Coronial and non-coronial postmortem
It’s important to know there are two types of postmortem examinations performed in NSW. These are called coronial and non-coronial.
Coronial postmortem: these are performed by forensic pathologists in the event of an unexpected or unexplained reportable death and at the request and direction of the NSW Coroner. For example: deaths in car accidents, homicide, suspicious deaths or unexplained deaths.
Non-coronial postmortem: these are typically carried out in hospital mortuaries by anatomical pathologists. These are usually done at the request of the family.
The NSW Perinatal Postmortem Service is for non-coronial postmortem examinations carried out by paediatric anatomical pathologists.
Our Care Coordinator is available via email or phone - 0436 698 366 - Monday to Friday during business hours (with weekend emails answered the next working day). Clinicians can also make a referral via our website.
If you need after-hours or urgent postmortem advice, please call:
- The Children’s Hospital, Westmead (02) 9845 0000 switchboard and ask to be transferred to the on-call pathologist
- John Hunter Hospital (02) 4921 3000 switchboard and ask to be transferred to Dr Ella Sugo.
- Prince of Wales Hospital (02) 9382 2222 switchboard and ask to be transferred to the on-call pathologist.
Forms should be ordered via your usual processes from Stream Solutions.
Other information for health professionals on Reportable Deaths and Stillbirth, and Policies and Guidelines are listed below.
Reportable Death Resources
Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand Guidelines are available here
Sudden and Unexplained Death in Infancy (SUDI)
SUDI occurs when an infant is less than 12 months old and when the death was unexpected or sudden in nature. The NSW Ministry of Health Policy Document outlines the procedures for management of SUDI deaths by NSW Health facilities.
The following policies, guidelines and information bulletins are relevant to postmortem examinations.