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June 16, 1999

Autopsy Rates and Diagnosis

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor


Copyright 1999 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1999

JAMA. 1999;281(23):2181. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-281-23-jac90005

To the Editor: I read with interest editorial by Dr Lundberg1 concerning low-tech autopsies, commenting on the study by Burton and colleagues,2 which documented the clinically missed neoplasms detected at autopsy. However, in view of the relative stability of the autopsy diagnostic discordance rates over many decades and considering the less than scientific work-ups earlier in the century compared with the high technology-based approach today, is it possible that we have asymptotically approached about as well as we can do clinically? This is only a conclusion based on looking at the data, not wishful thinking.

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