Saturday, January 6, 2007

always my favorite christmas present

i'm halfway through and thus far my favorite essay is buried answers by david dobbs.
it is an article about dr. allan schiller's crusade to revive the autopsy.
here are a few tid bits:

-"This is the point that Schiller, a champion of the autopsy, means to make: even in today's high-tech medical world, the low-tech hospital autopsy -- not the crime-oriented forensic autopsy glorified in television, but the routine autopsy done on patients who die in hospitals -- provides a uniquely effective means of quality control and knowledge. It exposes mistakes and bad habits, evaluates diagnostic and treatment routines and detects new disease."

-"The United States now does post-mortems on fewer than 5 percent of hospital deaths, and the procedure is alien to almost every doctor trained in the last 30 years."

-"...numerous studies over the last century have found that in 25 to 40 percent of cases in which an autopsy is done, it reveals an undiagnosed cause of death."


Sandra said...

Regarding Buried Answers:

This is another chance for a public awareness campaign similiar to the organ donor campaign. People could sign up ahead of time for their own autopsy. The process would be similiar to or included with your organ donor card or living will.
This doesn't answer the question of who bears the financial cost but the article seemed to infer that the costs could be recouped by an increase in the quality of care which could reduce costs born by all.
Given the gruesome description of the procedure I would appreciate direction from my loved ones on their feelings on how they feel about the tradeoff of invasinveness vs. the possible benefits of an autopsy. It would agree ahead of time to have an autopsy performed on me, but I highly recommend, that a loved one does not read the report themselves. Please have a medical expert read it and have the medical expert report the results.

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