New York Consolidated Laws, Public Health Law - PBH § 4214. Cadavers;  autopsy by order of hospital authorities

1. The director or person having lawful control and management of any hospital in which a patient has died may order the performance of an autopsy upon the body of such deceased person, after first giving notice of the death to the next of kin of such person, unless the body is claimed or objection is made to such autopsy by the next of kin within forty-eight hours after death, or within twenty-four hours after such notice of death.  In no case shall an autopsy or dissection be performed upon any body within forty-eight hours after death, unless a written consent or directive therefor has been received from the person or persons legally entitled to consent to or order such autopsy or dissection.  Except as required by law, no dissection or autopsy shall be performed on the body of any person who is carrying an identification card upon his person indicating his opposition to such dissection or autopsy.

2. In the case of an unclaimed body of a deceased person, the medical colleges, schools, institutes and universities shall have a priority claim to the said body, for the purposes of medical, anatomical or surgical science and study as provided in this article.

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