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September 1, 1956


JAMA. 1956;162(1):64-65. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970180066024

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To the Editor:—  The letters and comments provoked by Dr. Starr's guest editorial (J. A. M. A.160:1144 [March 31] 1956) testify to the sharpness of his criticism of current postmortem practice. There can be little doubt that, to the extent that university departments of pathology fail to apply modern techniques and investigative attitudes in the assay of autopsy material, Starr's dim view of the "routine" autopsy is justified. However, neither Starr's editorial nor the comments that it elicted make mention of the autopsy in nonuniversity hospitals, where the vast majority of postmortem examinations are conducted. In the state of Connecticut, by last available report, 605 autopsies were performed at the University Hospital, in contrast to more than 3,000 autopsies in 20 nonuniversity hospitals. In eight of the latter, which had no training program in pathology, an estimated 700 autopsies were reported. In the 12 other hospitals where accredited

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