This timely, concise study of the autopsy in medical practice and as affected by public policy has appeared at an appropriate moment. The text traces the history of the need, rise, plateau, and decline of the autopsy in our medical practice.
The authors have clearly shown the great benefits that have accrued to the practice of medicine with the rise of the autopsy: the clinical-pathological correlation and the education that so many of us in our medical school careers in the 1950s and 1960s remember with fondness from this excellent teaching mechanism. They have demonstrated that the need remains, that despite many of our modern diagnostic techniques, errors in diagnosis continue to be made, and, without the final clinical-pathological correlation, these simply are never recognized. Many studies have shown that the discrepancy between clinically diagnosed and pathologically determined cause of death continues to run significantly high. Although the need for