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Pediatric Autopsy

LEWIS W. SPRUNGER, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1986;140(11):1101. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1986.02140250027026.
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Sir.—Dr Dahms'1 article in the April 1986 issue of AJDC was a fascinating and, to my mind, appropriate reminder of the importance of the pediatrie autopsy. In answering her own question regarding what pediatricians can do to promote the use of autopsies, she cited the importance of being caring and sensitive, communicating carefully with families, and seeing the process through from start (requesting permission) to finish (discussing the findings). One question was not addressed: What can pathologists do? An autopsy is a surgical procedure. Current standards of practice require that informed consent be obtained prior to a surgical procedure and that the surgeon be directly involved in the informing. Additionally, the surgeon meets with the patient or family at varying intervals postoperatively to report on findings, assess progress, and so on. Could these standards or principles not be at least partially applied to the pathologist who does the autopsy?

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