The role of autopsy in death resulting from trauma

Joseph C. Stothert, Gbaranen B.M. Gbaanador, David N. Herndon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


This study examined the difference between clinical impressions and autopsy findings in a group of patients dying on a university surgical service after blunt injury, penetrating injury, or thermal burns. Of 215 patients dying between the years 1984 and 1988, 212 were included in this study (autopsy rate, 98.6%). Major discrepancies in clinical diagnosis versus the anatomic diagnosis at autopsy were found to occur in approximately 30% of patients. The incidence of errors in diagnosis which may have impacted on survival in these groups of injured patients was quite low (5.1%). These data support the continued practice of obtaining autopsy in all patients dying from trauma. This information is clinically relevant, and, in today’s atmosphere of quality assurance, absolutely necessary for a modern trauma center.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1021-1025
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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