The Medical University of South Carolina   Medical Center  ·  College of Medicine ·  Directory   
Department of Pathology Banner MUSC Logo

Our Mission

To serve patients, health care providers, research scientists, scholars, and society by providing excellence and innovation in diagnostic services and educational resources in a respectful, professional and culturally diverse atmosphere.

Our Vision

To become a preeminent leader in academic anatomic and clinical pathology while translating basic science discovery to improved clinical care.

Medical and Forensic Autopsy Section


S. Erin Presnell, MD - Director, Medical and Forensic Autopsy
S. Erin Presnell, M.D.

Cynthia A. Schandl, Ph.D., M.D. - Director, Forensic Pathology Fellowship Program
Cynthia A. Schandl, Ph.D., M.D.


Nicholas I. Batalis, MD - Associate Director, Pathology Residency Program
Nicholas I. Batalis, M.D.

Russell A. Harley, M.D.
Russell A. Harley, M.D.

Ellen C. Riemer, M.D., J.D.
Ellen C. Riemer, M.D., J.D.

About the section

The MUSC Department of Pathology Medical and Forensic Autopsy Section is staffed by 6 pathology faculty members, all board certified by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic, Clinical, and Forensic Pathology. Additionally, 1 pathologist has subspecialty board certification in pediatric pathology and another specializes in pulmonary and cardiovascular pathology. We perform medical autopsies for MUSC Hospital and other referring hospitals, such as Trident Regional Medical Center and the Charleston VA Hospital and medicolegal forensic cases for any referring South Carolina County Coroner. Cases are performed seven days per week, including holidays. Approximately 800 autopsies are performed at our institution each year. Our section is assisted by a forensic office operations coordinator, medical autopsy administrators, 3 experienced autopsy technicians and a pathologist assistant. Our Mortuary Services staff members are available 24 hours a day.

The MUSC Forensic and Autopsy Section supports the recommendations of the National Association of Medical Examiners Position Paper on the Medical Examiner Release of Organs and Tissues for Transplantation. In most instances, the procurement of organs or tissues can occur without jeopardizing the effectiveness of an autopsy.

Policies and Procedures
Autopsy Section Policies (Updated - 2013-03-18)

Forensic Autopsy

Medicolegal cases referred to MUSC by the South Carolina County Coroners are performed by forensic pathologists certified by the American Board of Pathology. Approximately 715 autopsies and external postmortem examinations are performed per year and are comprised of 17% homicides; 34%accidents; 9% suicides; 31% natural; and less than 1% undetermined (2008-09 statistics). Both courtroom and deposition testimony and individual consultations are provided as needed for criminal cases. Toxicological services are offered by the SC State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) Forensic Services Laboratory or National Medical Services (NMS) Laboratory. An ACGME accredited Forensic Pathology Fellowship program is available.

Forensic Pathology Links

Medical Autopsy

The Autopsy Section serves MUSC hospitals comprised of the University Hospital, Children’s Hospital, and Ashley River Tower as well as outpatient and Emergency Department services. The Department has contracts for medical autopsy coverage with outside hospitals including Trident Regional Medical Center and the Ralph H. Johnson Charleston Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center. An average of 150 medical autopsies is performed per year with approximately half being adult cases and half pediatric/stillborn cases. The Department and Autopsy Section are accredited by the College of American Pathologists.

Affiliate Hospital Autopsy Authorization
Affiliate Hospital Procedures

Private Autopsy

Our expert autopsy pathologists are available for private consultations with families. Fee-for-service postmortem examinations to address questions of cause of death, evaluation of medical procedures, evaluation for co-existing conditions, analysis of inheritable diseases, and other concerns can be arranged directly with a deceased’s next-of-kin. For additional information regarding the benefits of the autopsy, please see the College of American Pathologists “Autopsy: Aiding the Living by Understanding Death”. Topics discussed include: what is an autopsy, why perform an autopsy, how families and communities benefit from the autopsy, and common concerns about autopsies.

Click for more information


Forensic Pathology Fellowship Information
Autopsy Rotation Resident Guide
Autopsy Histopathology & Current Case
Autopsy Pathology Seminar Series

Autopsy Staff

Pathology Assitant

Ashley Wooldridge, MS

Autopsy Technicians

Tyrish Page

Raymond Edwards

Brent Grimball

Administrative Assistants

Maxine Robinson
Maxine Robinson
(Forensic Autopsy)
Phone: 792-3500

Phyllis Ross
Phyllis Ross
(Medical Autopsy)
Phone: 792-8725

Mortuary Staff

Julius Fielding

Bob Gregowitz

Gail Chesnut

For Additional Information

Medical and Forensic Autopsy Section
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Medical University of South Carolina
171 Ashley Avenue, MSC 908
Charleston, South Carolina 29425-9080
Phone: (843) 792-3500
Fax: (843) 792-3537

Carroll A. Campbell, Jr. Neuropathology Laboratory (Brain Bank)

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Chairman Dr. Steven L. Carroll
Message from the Chairman


Upcoming Events

Copyright 2011 MUSC Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine