Autopsy (Post Mortem Examination, Necropsy)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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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


Autopsy 101

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/1/2015

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