What happens when body tissue samples are taken

If there is a post mortem, the pathologist will probably take some samples to do some tests.  The tests can help them learn how the person died.

The samples might be small pieces from organs like the lungs and heart, or fluid like blood.  Most samples are no bigger than an adult's thumbnail.

If samples are taken for testing, we will ask you if you would like them returned to you.  If you would like the samples returned, please fill in the Request for Return of Samples form [PDF, 93 KB] and send it back to us.

The samples will not be returned until after the coroner has closed the inquiry.  This might take several months or even years.  Sometimes there will be no sample left after testing.

Please note that if the person's death was the result of homicide, the samples may need to be kept for many years to ensure they are available for more testing if new information about the case becomes available.

Apply to have the tissue samples returned to you

  1. Fill in this form:
    Request for Return of Samples [PDF, 93 KB]
  2. Send the form to Coronial Services within 30 days of being told that the samples have been kept.

What happens when samples are returned

When the samples are ready for return, a special courier will contact you and organise the return.

You'll get a small box.  Inside, the sample will be triple-sealed - perhaps in a test tube or in a wax slide.

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