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January 5, 1976

Postmortem Examination

Author Affiliations

St Mary's Hospital Milwaukee

JAMA. 1976;235(1):21-22. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260270011006

To the Editor.—  There have been a number of publications recently questioning the value of the routine autopsy.1 The contention is that current diagnostic techniques often diminish any substantial contribution from the autopsy. In my experience, this is often true. Another refrain is that pathologists are too busy with other laboratory and administrative demands. Generally, this is also quite true (the reasons may be a good subject for scrutiny and debate).What those opposed to the routine autopsy fail to recognize, however, is that we are training and maintaining pathologists whose depth of training and growing experience in morphologic pathology will be almost nonexistent. The experience of the autopsy, including clinical correlation, is an invaluable foundation to the pathologist. It supports and gives better understanding of laboratory medicine and its consultative roll. This is particularly important in the average general hospital where there are too few pathologists for real