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September 14, 1964

Embalming Before Autopsy

Author Affiliations

Skokie, Ill

JAMA. 1964;189(11):868. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070110069031

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To the Editor:—  I have published several autopsy studies which illustrate the importance of microbiological tests at autopsy. These include papers on pyogenic liver abscesses (Amer J Path44:36a [June] 1964), spontaneous endogenous clostridial septicemia (Chicago Med Sch Quart24:12, 1964), pseudomembranous enterocolitis (Amer J Surg106:966 [Dec] 1963), myocardial abscesses (Amer Heart J66:301 [Sept] 1963), and mycotic infections in leukemic patients at autopsy (Cancer16:61 [Jan] 1963).Please note that in both letters the writers concede that valid bacteriological and chemical studies and certain histochemical tests cannot be done on embalmed bodies. I am not able to determine which cases will require such studies until the autopsy is in progress.Morticians are not necessarily pleased by the prospect of returning bodies to the hospital after embalming, nor are they usually pleased to send an embalmer to the hospital prior to autopsy. I agree

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