Autopsy is not a word that slips out of our mouths that easily in today’s world for a variety of reasons, most likely because we don’t really want to think that someday we are going to die. Autopsy’s really came into vogue (if you can say that) in 1761 with a scientific paper published by Dr Giovanni Morgagni who did over 700 autopsies and produced the first modern thinking on cause and effect of disease.
By the early 1950’s, autopsies were performed for over 50% of deaths. They played a key role in helping doctors, through trial and error, pioneer heart surgery and better understand cancer and other major causes of death. However, now the autopsy rate has decreased to less than 20% of deaths due to the use of MRI’s etc.
Dr George Lundberg points out in his 1998 study that in 25-40% of cases in which an autopsy is conducted, an undiagnosed cause of death is revealed. Dr Lundberg spoke about one particular family that thought their Mom had Alzheimer’s disease, when in fact she suffered from a series of strokes. The result is that heir children will now pay more attention to their cardiovascular health, and are not worrying about themselves getting Alzheimer’s.
Sometimes you have to get under the knife to get the heart of the matter (no pun intended). It is only when you “dissect” the problem that you can start to understand the big picture and get the proper response. The good news with the work we do is that you don’t have to go under the knife. Although you may have to say “Awww”!
Along the road with you…