- Autopsy facts
- What is an autopsy?
- Who determines whether an autopsy is performed?
- How is an autopsy performed?
- What other special studies may be done as part of the autopsy?
- What is the autopsy report?
- Why is the autopsy rate declining?
- What are the benefits of autopsies?
- Who pays for autopsies?
- What is the history of the autopsy?
- Should the autopsy be revived?
Should the autopsy be revived?
Government agencies that regulate the accreditation of hospitals and nursing homes are deeply concerned about the decline in autopsy rates. For example, surveys have indicated that less than 1% of nursing home patients who die are autopsied. The U.S. general accounting office, which pays for some nursing home services, recently attempted to prove that particular nursing homes were substandard. Such efforts were thwarted by the lack of hard evidence. The allegations could not be proven because the patients in question were not autopsied and the actual causes of death could not, therefore, be confirmed.
Some information can only be acquired during an autopsy. The information autopsies can provide benefits society, the medical profession, and families. Many physicians believe that autopsy should be revived. Whether or not it will be revived remains to be seen.
Medically reviewed by Martin E. Zipser, MD; American board of Surgery