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James W. Walker, M.D.
JAMA. 1903;XLI(15):918-919. doi:10.1001/jama.1903.02490340026014.
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Chicago, Sept. 29, 1903.

To the Editor:  —Referring to your editorial of September 5, on "Compulsory Postmortems," it seems to me worth while to emphasize the fact that permission for postmortems can frequently, if not usually, be obtained if the friends are duly considered and properly approached. It would certainly be a salutory custom from the layman's point of view if it were traditional to hold postmortems on all the dead, especially if the physicians in charge were expected by custom to write their colleagues to be present. The wholesome effect that this "facing the music" has in hospital life in calling forth every known diagnostic effort, and leading to due appreciation of responsibility because of the fear of criticism at the morgue table by one's colleagues, is well known to all who have been internes. If the layman fully understood the inward significance of the phrase "Dead men tell


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