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March 2, 1935


JAMA. 1935;104(9):776. doi:10.1001/jama.1935.02760090080043

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Autopsies: Liability of Charitable Hospital for Unauthorized Autopsy.—  The plaintiff's husband died in the defendant hospital, Dec. 5, 1929, at 8 p. m. The body was removed to the hospital morgue. The following morning at 9 o'clock an undertaker, procured by the plaintiff, called at the hospital for the body but was told by the hospital authorities that it was not then ready for delivery. He was compelled to wait until 2 o'clock in the afternoon before he obtained the body. It was later discovered that, without the consent of the plaintiff, an autopsy had been performed on the body in the hospital, the vital organs removed, and the space formerly occupied by them filled with cotton. The plaintiff sued the hospital, and the trial court, after reducing the amount of damages awarded by the jury, gave judgment for the plaintiff. Both the plaintiff and the defendant hospital appealed to

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