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Autopsy and Medicine
September 14, 1998

Case of the MonthMaking Amends

Ann E. Smith, MD; Grover M. Hutchins, MD; Randy Hanzlick, MD; et al and the Autopsy Committee of the College of American Pathologists
Arch Intern Med. 1998;158(16):1739-1740. doi:10.1001/archinte.158.16.1739

A 60-YEAR-OLD MAN was diagnosed as having recurrent idiopathic pancreatitis for 3 years. Other medical history included type 1 diabetes mellitus, nephrolithiasis that required lithotripsy, and cholecystitis that required cholecystectomy. He had abdominal symptoms that led to diagnoses of pancreatic abscesses and peritonitis. Medical management and surgical drainage led to the culture of multiple organisms from the inflammatory process, then systemic sepsis and coagulopathy developed and resulted in death. The family initially declined to have an autopsy performed, and the cause of death statement on the death certificate was prepared by the attending physician as follows:

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