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June 23, 1956


JAMA. 1956;161(8):730-732. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970080060018

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The recent guest editorial by Isaac Starr, "Potential Values of the Autopsy Today" (J. A. M. A.160:1144-1145 [March 31] 1956), and the letters in reply (J. A. M. A.161:175-177 [May 12] 1956) have initiated a controversy of interest to everyone who is seriously concerned about basic problems of present-day and future medicine. It is not surprising that pathologists of experience and distinction should have reacted so promptly and vigorously to the editorial assertions; what is surprising is that some of the assertions should have been made at all. After a careful reading of the editorial, however, it seems evident that the writer had in mind mainly the problem of gross pathological anatomy and the reasons for the seeming decline in interest in this phase of the autopsy. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the writer erred in generalizing from this aspect to such strong assertions as "as the

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