Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- What is an autopsy?
- Who determines whether an autopsy is performed?
- How is an autopsy performed?
- What other special studies may be done as part of the autopsy?
- What is the autopsy report?
- Why is the autopsy rate declining?
- What are the benefits of autopsies?
- Who pays for autopsies?
- What is the history of the autopsy?
- Should the autopsy be revived?
- Autopsy At A Glance
Should the autopsy be revived?
Government agencies that regulate the accreditation of hospitals and nursing homes are deeply concerned about the decline in autopsy rates. For example, recent surveys have indicated that less than 1% of nursing home patients who die are autopsied. The U.S. general accounting office, which pays for some nursing home services, recently attempted to prove that particular nursing homes were substandard. Such efforts were thwarted by the lack of hard evidence. The allegations could not be proven because the patients in question were not autopsied and the actual causes of death could not, therefore, be confirmed.
Some information can only be acquired during an autopsy. The information autopsies can provide benefits society, the medical profession, and families. Many physicians believe that autopsy should be revived. Whether or not it will be revived remains to be seen.
Autopsy At A Glance
- An autopsy is the examination of the body of a dead person.
- An autopsy may be restricted to a specific organ or region of the body.
- Autopsies are performed to determine the cause of death, for legal purposes, and for education and research.
- The body is opened in a manner that does not interfere with an open casket service.
- The autopsy rate has dropped from 50% to less than10% over the past fifty years.
Last Editorial Review: 2/9/2007
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