Aim Hospital autopsy rates have been falling steadily over recent decades. One factor that has been implicated in this decline is the perception that the general public views postmortem examinations unfavourably and that this often makes clinicians reluctant to discuss autopsy with families and seek their consent. The aim of this study was to test this assumption.
Objectives/methods In the division of lymphoid malignancies at St Bartholomew's Hospital, we suggested autopsy and discussed it in depth with the families of all the patients who died in hospital in an 8-month period in order to assess whether the autopsy rate could be increased by improving the approach to the relatives.
Results Consent for a postmortem examination was requested in 18 of 23 cases and granted in 16 cases, giving a consent rate of 89%, and an overall rate of autopsy of 69.5%.
Conclusion The attitude of the general public is positive overall, and translates into high autopsy rates when the value of the examination is presented honestly and the details of the procedure are adequately explained.
- communication skills
- medical education
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.