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October 14, 1933


Author Affiliations

Clinical Fellow in Cancer Research, Memorial Hospital NEW YORK

JAMA. 1933;101(16):1199-1205. doi:10.1001/jama.1933.02740410001001

The importance of obtaining a high percentage of autopsies on the bodies of patients who die in hospitals needs no emphasis. Adequate instruction of students, development and evaluation of new methods of treatment, verification of diagnoses, accumulation of accurate records and statistics, and furtherance of research are best accomplished in institutions where a large percentage of deceased patients come to necropsy.

Hospitals which require a signed permission for autopsy as a prerequisite to admission have no difficulty in maintaining a high percentage. A different situation prevails in those hospitals which do not enforce such a requirement. These institutions (they constitute a majority of all hospitals) must depend on persuasion.

The request for permission to perform an autopsy must necessarily be made when the relatives are keyed to a high pitch of emotional excitement, when tender sentiments evoked by death offer strong opposition to any procedure which will entail indignity or