Autopsy rooms aren’t what they used to be. Not even close. Centuries ago, the autopsy room was often a dark and dank place in the basement of a hospital, some lit only by meager sunlight through a small window or two. Others were performed in theaters where physicians could sit and observe.
In the 19th Century and before, the autopsy procedure itself dealt only with what the physician could see before him. Some diseases and traumas were readily apparent but more subtle diseases and injuries and essentially all poisons would often go unnoticed. Not likely today with our expanding knowledge of forensic science and greatly improved and more sophisticated facilities.
An interesting article in Forensic Magazine on state-of-the-art autopsy facilities underscores these changes. A modern autopsy facility would have looked unearthly to the 19th century physician.