McFarland Clinic

Frequently Asked Questions

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My doctor is sending my biopsy tissue to a pathologist. What is a pathologist?

A pathologist is a medical doctor (M.D. or D.O.) who specializes in the diagnostic examination of fluids and tissues.  Pathologists are sometimes called ‘the doctor’s doctor’, as the pathologist can help your doctor by providing a diagnosis based on the examination of your tissue or fluid sample.  The pathologist uses a microscope to examine your tissue sample in most cases. 

My doctor has scheduled me for a biopsy procedure. How soon will I get my results?

Examination of biopsy tissue by the pathologist is a multi-step process, beginning with receipt of the biopsy tissue from your doctor, and ending with the preparation of a final pathology report that will be electronically delivered directly to your doctor in most cases.  At McFarland Clinic, your biopsy results are usually available to your doctor between one and two business days after your procedure.

My doctor told me the pathology results are not final yet. Why are my results delayed?

Although the typical wait time for a final pathology report is between one and two days, there are special circumstances that may delay the final pathology report.  Occasionally the pathologist will need to order additional tests to be performed on the biopsy tissue in order to provide your doctor with enough information to use in your treatment plan.  Some of these special tests are performed at larger laboratories outside of McFarland Clinic, and therefore require additional time to complete.

How can I get my pathology results/report?

Normally, you receive your results from the physician who performed your procedure or your primary care physician. They will go over your results and talk to you about what those results mean, for example, treatment, follow-up, etc. However, if you need a copy of the Pathology Report you must contact McFarland’s Release of Information Office.

I don’t understand how to read the results of my report. Who can I go to for help?

Your primary doctor, and/or the doctor that performed the biopsy, will best be able to review the results of the pathology report with you. Your doctor may also meet with the pathologist to review your results in order to best explain them to you.

How do I obtain a second opinion of the pathology interpretation?

Contact the physician handling your case, usually the one who performed the procedure. They will contact the Pathology Department to have your report and all materials necessary sent to the facility performing the second opinion. Results of the second opinion will come to the Pathology Department and we then forward them to your physician. You will be assessed a service fee of $25.00 for handling/transportation.  Any professional fees will be determined by the facility providing the second opinion and your out-of-pocket cost, is dependent on your insurance coverage. You may wish to contact your insurance carrier for further information.

What are the reasons for performing an autopsy?

Requests for an autopsy can originate from three different parties: 

  • The doctor who was caring for the patient in question
  • The family (next of kin) of the patient in question
  • The county medical examiner

The deceased’s doctor may ask for an autopsy to be performed in order to better understand the medical reasons for the patient’s death.  The patient’s closest "next of kin" (spouse, adult children, siblings, etc) must provide written consent for an autopsy.  If a death falls under the jurisdiction of the county medical examiner as specified in the Iowa Code, the county medical examiner (or medical examiner deputy) may authorize an autopsy; next of kin consent is not sought nor required in this setting.

Can an open casket viewing of my loved one still be possible if an autopsy is performed?

The routine medical autopsy procedure, appropriately performed, does not adversely affect mortuary attention and does not affect the ability to have an open casket viewing.

Who is financially responsible for an autopsy?

Please contact the McFarland Clinic Business Office for more information.

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