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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 8-11

Attitude of nigerian resident doctors towards clinical autopsy

Department of Pathology, College of Medical sciences, University of Benin, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
V J Ekanem
Department of Pathology, College of Medical sciences, University of Benin, Benin City, Edo State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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BACKGROUND: It is to the disadvantage of the doctors in training that there is a decline in the rate of clinical autopsy world wide. This decline may to an extent depend on the attitude of the physicians. AIM: To evaluate the attitude of resident doctors towards the practice of clinical autopsy and to determine their role in the decline of clinical autopsy. METHOD: We carried out a survey of the attitude of resident doctors undergoing training in the various clinical departments of our teaching hospital towards clinical autopsy practice. This survey was by means of a structured randomly distributed questionnaire. Questions were asked on their willingness to request for autopsy, the number of autopsies that they have requested for so far, what hinders them from requesting for autopsy, the level of participation at autopsy and the importance of autopsies in the health care delivery system RESULTS: Eighteen (30%) out of 60 resident doctors attributed their inability to request for autopsy on their not being in direct control of the patients, while 16 (26.7%) found it difficult to get consent from the relatives. Seventeen per cent of them gave reason of not being able to obtain report from the pathologist, 13.3% said it was difficult to get pathologist to perform autopsy on time while only 11% said they knew the diagnosis in most of their cases. Almost all the resident doctors (98.5%) agreed that autopsy is a necessary procedure and is important for their training and health care delivery system CONCLUSION: Autopsy rate can increase if the resident doctors receive more blessings to request for autopsy from their consultants. Increased exposure to autopsies and education with regards to the benefits of autopsies at both the undergraduate and post graduate level will contribute to improvement in the rate of clinical autopsy.

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