To the Editor.—
The article on the advisability of routine autopsies (233:441, 1975) by Burrows, and the supporting letter in the letters column of the same issue both clearly make the point that autopsies, like every other laboratory study, should have indications suggestive of fruitfulness, rather than be ordered or requested routinely. Although they imply it, neither author points out the deleterious effect of the "status value" of a high autopsy percentage. This is forced on hospitals by accreditations commissions and represents a false criterion of quality.
Swank RL. Postmortem Examination. JAMA. 1976;235(1):21. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260270011002
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