Intended for healthcare professionals


Resuscitating the teaching autopsy

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 02 October 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:803
  1. James Underwood (, professor of pathology1
  1. 1 School of Medicine and Biomedical Science, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2RX

    O'Grady rightly laments the exclusion of students from coroner's autopsies in New Zealand. With the worrying decline in the hospital autopsy rate, coroner's cases (about 90% of autopsies in the United Kingdom) are now the main opportunity for medical student teaching.

    I am not aware of any similar restriction in the United Kingdom, and there is nothing in the Coroner's Rules 1984 that would automatically prohibit medical students, nurses, or police trainees from attending. Coroner's Rule 7(4) is relevant: “Nothing in the foregoing provisions of this Rule shall be deemed to limit the discretion of the coroner to notify any person of the date, …

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