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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
The sensitivity of the algorithm varied depending on whether it was applied to dictated autopsy records, including all pathologic diagnoses, or to a truncated dataset containing records equivalent to that found on a death certificate (i.e., basic demographic information and causes of death).
Called Casualty 1907 the new show is set 20 years before penicillin was discovered and is based on Edwardian ward reports, autopsy records and diaries.
(2004) conducted a mortality study based on death certificates (although combined with autopsy records) and reported standardized mortality ratios.
Researchers who have now examined medical and autopsy records of the four dead women report striking similarities.
The case will evoke memories of the controversy over access to the Dale Earnhardt autopsy records after the NASCAR driver's death in 2001.
The researchers matched the autopsy records with information in the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) database, which was set up by the Drug Enforcement Agency to collect mortality data from medical examiners and emergency room personnel.
Along with the tissue samples, the investigators have also gathered detailed medical and autopsy records, as well as prenatal, perinatal, and postnatal histories.
Al-Haq has further learned that Israeli spokespersons are more likely than pathologists to misrepresent the findings of their own autopsies for political reasons, and that official autopsy records therefore could be a valuable source of information.