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Article
May 8, 1915

THE NECROPSY AS A PUBLIC SERVICE

Author Affiliations

ROCHESTER, MINN.

JAMA. 1915;LXIV(19):1560-1562. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02570450022007
Abstract

The very careful investigation of the subject of post-mortem examinations in the United States made two years ago by a committee of the New York Academy of Medicine1 showed that of the seventeen large hospitals in the United States from which statistics were available for the years 1910, 1911 and 1912, the ratio of necropsies to deaths ranged from 7.3 to 62.7 per cent. In only four was the percentage above 25. As a reason for these very low percentages as compared with those of European hospitals, the committee states that "the main causes of the difficulties in obtaining permission for necropsies are due (a) to the ignorance on the part of the public of the importance of necropsies to science and therefore to the welfare of the people; (b) to the existing inadequate laws; (c) to the activity of undertakers and certain funeral societies; (d) to the inadequate

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