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February 11, 1956


JAMA. 1956;160(6):503-504. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02960410079023

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To the Editor:—  In the Correspondence section of The Journal, Nov. 26, 1955, is a letter by Dr. J. W. Spelman, from the office of the Vermont state pathologist, wherein he comments on my article that appeared in the Aug. 27, 1955, issue. He points out that in the article I have quoted several authorities who believe that 20% of all cases coming into a medicolegal officer's jurisdiction require autopsy. "This," he says, "is greatly different from 100%" that I recommended in the article. In his next sentence he goes on to say, "While autopsies in as many as 50% may be desirable in urban areas...." I cannot resist observing that the 50% that Dr. Spelman recommends also is vastly different than the 20% others have recommended. It would be interesting to know how he arrived at the 50%figure. Moreover, the article points out that a study indicated 80% as

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