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June 19, 1996

Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Author Affiliations

Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga

JAMA. 1996;275(23):1839-1841. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530470067040

The past year has witnessed significant advances in understanding the pathologic aspects of emerging and reemerging infectious diseases, the Human Genome Project, venous thromboembolism, and breast cancer. In support of advances in these and other areas, pathologists and other physicians have placed increased emphasis on the importance of the autopsy.

The autopsy has been recognized as the most important quality assurance indicator for the treatment of the sickest patients—those whose illness is fatal.1 In addition, progress in molecular diagnosis and therapy requires the continued availability of tissues obtained during postmortem examination.2 The unraveling of the infectious causes of new, potentially fatal disease outbreaks in the past several years has been possible only because of the postmortem examination of victims of these emerging and reemerging microbial agents. In view of the importance of the autopsy and availability of archival autopsy tissues for further progress in pathology and laboratory medicine,