The Autopsy Doctor
Dr. Daniel “Dan” Schultz is founder, President, and Chief Pathologist for Final Diagnosis, Inc., and has personally performed nearly 6000 autopsies. Dr. Schultz is a board certified anatomic, clinical and forensic pathologist and is licensed to practice medicine in California, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, and Ohio. Dan began this quest for a private autopsy facility in the early beginnings of his career in the 1990’s. It is safe to say this respectful and well appointed laboratory is one of the only private autopsy facilities in the United States and it has been the product of a lot of hard work, late night pondering, and savings. He is a current full time Associate Medical Examiner in Hillsborough County Florida as well as the Medical Director for the last 12 years of Tissue Services for the LifeLink Tissue Bank, part of the non-profit LifeLink Foundation which operates three organ procurement organizations (OPO’s) based in Florida, Georgia and Puerto Rico. The LifeLink Tissue Bank is one of the largest and highly respected tissue banks in the southeastern United States. Dan is also the Immediate Past Chairman of the American Association of Tissue Banks having been a board member for over 6 years. He received his Doctor of Medicine in 1990 from the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. Dan has been a registered organ, eye and tissue donor since 16 years of age and appreciates not only the value of donation to recipients but to those people and families who see something good that has come of tragedy. While a busy man, the interrelationships and symbiosis of the medical examiner and coroner world with those of saving lives through transplant has made Dr. Schultz extremely thankful to be able to serve. The future for Dr. Schultz is to build upon this strong passion for what he loves in forensic pathology by focusing on slowly growing this practice and concept. Not only are autopsies a fascinating view on what really happened at death but they are such a valuable tool to gauge quality of care, to provide additional closure and to facilitate compassionate counseling. At the recent Annual meeting of the National Association of Medical Examiners, former President Dr. Ross Zumwalt gave a keynote speech, and eloquently said something to the effect: “forensic pathologists are the family doctor when you need them most”. This is what Dan has felt his entire career, and he really took Dr. Zumwalt’s statement to heart. This point is something many people really do not appreciate about pathologists and those wonderful opportunities they have to help heal those who are left behind. Indeed, the dead do speak, and we are the interpreters.
Dr. Schutz is an outspoken advocate of the value of the autopsy and getting to “The Truth through Final Diagnosis” thus establishing Final Diagnosis, Inc and his freestanding lab in Tampa, Florida. This lab helps address the logistical challenges of access to a facility optimized for autopsies, although Dr. Schultz is also sometimes available to travel for autopsy exams. Dr. Schultz’s motivations for a private autopsy service is quite simply to answer the question:
“What really happened?”
It is not uncommon to find surprise diseases at autopsy. In fact, it is safe to say that if one does not find anything “new” one probably did not look very hard. Dr. Schultz looks. He is devoted as a scientist to getting the most information, and getting it right for every case. He takes personal pride in his work and will let you know if obtaining an autopsy is going to provide valuable information. Based on the story and the questions raised, he may tell a family an autopsy is not necessary. An autopsy is by no means inexpensive, but in comparison to other diagnostic methods (CT scan, MRI, etc.) it is more sensitive and often can find things that have been inaccurately diagnosed. The autopsy is the Gold Standard for diagnosis – the best and Final Diagnosis.
Click here for information on Dr. Schultz’s professional certifications, experience, education and memberships.