Autopsy and Case Reports
Autopsy and Case Reports
Original Article

The hospital autopsy: the importance in keeping autopsy an option

Rachel Scarl; Bryce Parkinson; Vidya Arole; Tanner Hardy; Patricia Allenby

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Autopsy has been one of the most powerful diagnostic tools in medicine for over a century. Despite its importance in establishing cause of death and elucidating pathophysiology of disease, rates of hospital autopsies continue to decline. In this study we aim to determine if physicians believe autopsies are essential to patient care through discussion of autopsy with families. At the same time, we analyzed whether families are more willing to consent to autopsy if physicians are involved in autopsy discussion at the time of death, and what may be the reasons for not wanting an autopsy. Our results showed a doubling in autopsy consent when autopsy was discussed by the physician. Additionally, the biggest reason for families not consenting to autopsy was because they believed they already knew what caused death. The emergence of Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) has re-established the value of autopsy, as seen by increased autopsy rates in the past year. This study demonstrates that physician conversation with families on autopsy leads to an increased chance of autopsy consent.


Autopsy, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2


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