Autopsy and medical education: a review

R Charlton
Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 1994, 87 (4): 232-6
During the twentieth century there has been a decline in the rate of autopsies performed. A review of the literature reveals reasons for this decline which include: an improvement in the medical diagnostic technology available; inadequate training of doctors as to the importance of autopsy; and difficulties in obtaining consent from relatives and the present use of audit. Recommendations for changes in medical education are made which include: a greater appreciation of the procedure as a useful investigation tool; the development of attitudes towards death; and improving communication skills with the bereaved. Recommendations are also made regarding education of the public, awareness of differences in cultural attitudes, the role of leaflets, the post-autopsy conference and the place of audit.

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