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Letters
June 16, 1999

Autopsy Rates and Diagnosis

Author Affiliations
 

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

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

To the Editor: I completely agree with Dr Lundberg's1 suggestions to the Health Care Financing Administration and the Joint Commission on Accrediation of Healthcare Organizations for reviving the flagging autopsy rates in US hospitals. As a pathologist in a teaching hospital, I have watched our autopsy rate decrease drastically over the last 20 years. No amount of clinician education, pleas for teaching conferences, or decreased reporting time (currently 1 week for final report) has had any effect. I suggest that all national and regional cancer trial groups (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, North Central Cancer Treatment Group, etc) mandate autopsy of the enrolled patients as one of the requirements for participation in these trials. The extra cost should be included in the trial budget. At present, no such provision exists. Thus, we miss important knowledge regarding the effects of these new drugs and implements on cancer and healthy tissues.

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