Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Matter of Life and Death

Happy Holidays, readers!  Let's talk dead bodies...

The above article is a part of the ongoing ProPublica/NPR/PBS Frontline investigation into American coroner and medical examiner offices (very cool information; see here).  In it, journalist Marshall Allen describes the decline of autopsies in the modern healthcare system. 

Whereas autopsies used to be routine procedures in the case of all hospital deaths, the autopsy rate has now plummeted to 5% of all hospital deaths. Among private and community hospitals--which account for 80% of hospitals--that rate hovers around 0%. While autopsy is crucial in determining disease progression, pathogen dissemination, medical mis-diagnosis, and faulty treatment, most hospitals have simply chosen not to perform them.