The Autopsy Crisis Reexamined: The Case for a National Autopsy Policy

The use of autopsy in medical practice in the United States has declined drastically over the past 25 years. Physicians conduct postmortem examinations on less than 12 percent of persons who die in hospitals and on proportionally far fewer people who die at home. Without due assessment of causes of death, pathologists lose opportunities to conduct critical diagnostic exercises, and society fails to obtain accurate health statistics. Medical practitioners, legislators, insurers, and the public should consider diverse features of a national policy for assuring that sufficient numbers of autopsies are competently performed and their findings appropriately employed.

Author(s): Rolla B. Hill; Robert E. Anderson

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Volume 69, Issue 1 (pages 51–78)
Published in 1991