nancylebov (nancylebov) wrote,
nancylebov
nancylebov

The rarity of autopsies in the US

Today, hospitals perform autopsies on only about 5 percent of patients who die, down from roughly 50 percent in the 1960s.

I'd heard something about the decline of autopsies in the context of fat acceptance-- we don't actually know as much as is commonly thought about the risks of fatness because we don't know what fat people actually die of. However, I had no idea that the autopsy rate had gone that low.

I don't know how often the cause of death is so obvious that autopsy might not make sense, but even then, I've heard that one of the fascinating things you learn as a pathologist is how much can be wrong with people that doesn't kill them. Having a large statistical base of such information would be very useful in determining what conditions which have few or no symptoms should be treated.

More details, if you like. In other words, it's a long somewhat technical article with a bit I find supports my thesis (that 44.4% of autopsies turned up information which would affected treatment), but which I'm not going to read in any detail. Unfortunately, even though it mentions that autopsy rates are declining world-wide, it doesn't have a handy chart of % by country.

First link found at Overcoming Bias.

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