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June 23, 1956


JAMA. 1956;161(8):749-750. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970080079026

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To the Editor:—  The discussion about the present and the future of the autopsy that has appeared in The Journal was started by a signed editorial (March 31, page 1144) that suggested that too many autopsies were studied too little and with insufficient imagination. At the same time the author described the fashion in which he had adapted a clinical procedure of very doubtful significance to an autopsy study. The retort to the autopsy editorial was rapid and more than adequate. A distinguished group, largely made up of senior pathologists, explained and recounted several solid reasons for which an autopsy must be done whenever possible if medicine is to continue its progress. One important justification for the autopsy was not stated. Overlooked was the philosophical fact of the autopsy representing the "end-of-the-line" position. The chain of medical care, which begins with the delivery of the patient by an obstetrician and

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