Tuesday, 23 January 2007
In October 2006. the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (still called NCEPOD) produced a report into the quality of autopsies carried out on behalf of the Coroner (in England and Wales). 25% of autopsies were considered to be poor or unnacceptable - a lamentable situation.
The Royal College of Pathologists have produced guidelines for autopsy, and a series of guidelines for various autopsy scenarios.
These scenarios cover such situations as a suspected sudden cardiac death, but it should be noted that these are only a guide, and that each case should be considered on its merits, and that the autopsy should be guided to address the issues relevant to each individual case.
Wikipedia also gives an overview of autopsy, whilst an excellent website produced by the University of Leicester (UK) creates case studies to work through, under the guise of a 'Virtual autopsy'. There is also a section on 'death', and a list of 'causes of death by rate', providing further links to specific causes of death.
The National Library of Health (USA) 'Visible Proofs' exhibition website has some good autopsy related resources, with interviews with Medical Examiners and autopsy movie clips.