Perception of pathology residents about autopsies: results of a mini survey
A total of 47 pathology residents completed the survey. Among these 44 were in combined anatomic pathology – clinical pathology program while 3 were in anatomic pathology only program. Sixteen residents were in their post graduate year (PGY) 4, 11 were PGY 3, 13 were PGY 2 and 7 were PGY 1. For 45 of these 47 residents, autopsy rotation was incorporated with other anatomic pathology rotations while 2 residents had dedicated time on autopsy rotation. Residents with incorporated rotation schedule, had autopsy rotation experience ranging from 4 months to 21 months.
On a scale of 10, the mean score for “liking their autopsy rotation” was 2.8. The mean score for the question, “how much do you think autopsy rotation is beneficial for Pathology residents?” was 3.6. For the question, “which anatomical pathology rotation you like the least?”, 87% (41 of 47) residents answered “autopsy rotation”. Interestingly medical examiner / forensic autopsy rotation experience was rated 8.3 on a scale of 10.
Owing to small sample size, we analyzed the data as a whole and did not stratify the survey responses with respect to year in training or time spent on autopsy rotation. These basic results, however, demonstrate that our speculations were indeed right. Relatively old literature in this regard has similar results.
The results of our mini survey are an invitation for a thorough, nationwide, full scale survey with a detailed questionnaire. We again emphasize that the educational institutions need to stress upon the importance of autopsy among the residents and students.