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see post-mortem examinationpost-mortem examination
or autopsy,
systematic examination of a cadaver for study or for determining the cause of death. Post-mortems use many methodical procedures to determine the etiology and pathogenesis of diseases, for epidemologic purposes, for establishment of
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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(section, obduction), the examination of a corpse in order to clarify the nature of the morbid changes and establish the cause of death.

Autopsies maybe either pathologicoanatomical or medicolegal; the first explores death from various diseases in a medical facility, while the latter refers to deaths that may be ascribed to violent or criminal action and that are ordered investigated by legal authorities. Autopsy plays an enormous role in instruction and refinement of the physician’s knowledge (as a check for the validity of diagnosis and treatment). Autopsies are also used as a basis for the exploration of problems in thanatology and resuscitation and the statistical indexes of mortality and lethality. Data from medicolegal autopsies have an important and sometimes decisive influence in court. Pathologicoanatomical autopsy is carried out by a pathological anatomist-physician (prosector) in specially equipped institutions attached to clinics or hospitals; medicolegal autopsies are performed by an expert in forensic medicine at the morgue. Autopsies are performed according to a prescribed method, and the findings are presented either in an autopsy report (for pathologicoanatomical autopsy) or a legal statement (for medicolegal autopsy).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A postmortem examination of the body to determine cause of death.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


dissection and examination of a dead body to determine the cause of death
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
He asked the Bihar Human Rights Commission to issue necessary guidelines to the health department about engaging only women doctors to do autopsies of deceased women.
Cabral to give its written position to us why the autopsies should be stopped," he stated.
For example, a pulmonary pathologist who performs autopsies only when there is a history of interstitial lung disease may lack the experience necessary to differentiate acute tubular necrosis from extensive autolysis or to appropriately contextualize the lung findings in the final report.
Autopsies are important in clinical medicine as they can identify medical errors and assist in continuous improvement in medicare.
Amish, Hmong, Muslims and some Orthodox Jews also object to invasive autopsies.
It never was a revenue producer for anybody, except malpractice attorneys, and most of the autopsies performed today have medico-legal overtones.
"Autopsies are also much more complex than the identification of a narcotic, and are more prone to shades of gray, as their outcome is a diagnosis, not a chemical compound match." Id.
Objective: To study the demographic distribution of the victims of road traffic accidents that were presented for medico-legal autopsy in Karachi, identify fatal injuries, the identity of road users autopsied and the month-wise variation in performing autopsies.
Autopsies also contribute to epidemiologic data, provide insights into disease pathogenesis, and create educational opportunities for physicians and medical students (5).
A full-body low-dose digital X-ray system has, however, been used in medico-legal autopsies in South Africa for a number of reasons.
In South Africa, academic and/or anatomical pathology autopsies are conducted in terms of the Human Tissue Act (Act 65 of 1983).
AMERICANS SEEM TO LOVE television dramas revolving around the work of medical examiners, but in the real world, pressure has been mounting for medicine to develop an alternative to autopsies. Grieving families shocked by the unexpected death of a loved one are often reluctant to consent to the grim procedure, and Jews and Muslims object on religions grounds.