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September 9, 1933


JAMA. 1933;101(11):873. doi:10.1001/jama.1933.02740360053032

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To the Editor:  —Dr. Reginald Fitz (The Journal, July 22, p. 253) properly calls attention to the necessity and possibility of each hospital maintaining a high postmortem percentage. When autopsies are few, scientific morale is likely to languish and the care of patients becomes routinized. Dr. Fitz mentions the case of the Philadelphia General Hospital, an institution of 2,000 beds which I had the honor to direct for a decade and a half. There, a percentage of 10 rapidly mounted to 55 when postmortems were seriously sought. At the Jewish Hospital, Philadelphia, an institution of 400 beds, an autopsy percentage of 10 in the course of two months of endeavor rose to 50 and has ranged from 40 to 70 during the several months of the year, averaging in excess of 50 for the twelve months.The sole responsibility of securing postmortem permissions should not be left to the pathologist.

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