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March 5, 1973


Author Affiliations

Coral Gables, Fla

JAMA. 1973;223(10):1157. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220100051018

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To the Editor.—  Dr. John Prutting referred to a statistical study previously presented, "An Autopsy Study of Cancer Patients" (221:1471, 1971), as a basis for interjecting his own thoughts on the performance of autopsies (222:1556, 1972). He cites the benefits, well recognized, and then in an aside takes issue with the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals for their change in attitude in not insisting on a certain number being performed as a requirement for accreditation. It is my understanding that most states have a minimum autopsy requirement, around 20% or more, before they, in turn, issue an annual approval of hospitals within their confines.To perform an autopsy is no "chore." To do it blindly with no more indication than a permit and a corresponding dead body, with no diagnosis and naught of value in the record is a somewhat useless task, valuable only to the prosector. To carry it