We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Autopsy and Medicine |

Case of the Month The Rest of the Story

Arch Intern Med. 1999;159(11):1173-1176. doi:10.1001/archinte.159.11.1173.
Text Size: A A A
Published online


A 78-YEAR-OLD woman with hypertension presented with a gangrenous foot that had kept her from ambulating. During the surgical closure following above-the-knee amputation she developed precipitous hypotension followed by cardiopulmonary arrest and death.

The pathology resident on call to perform autopsies received an authorization to perform an autopsy that had been completed by the patient's physician and the legal next of kin. In the area of the form for notation of restrictions (such as "autopsy to be limited to chest and abdomen only") were the words "please do not disfigure the face." Because the face is almost never disfigured during an autopsy (unless dissection is required in a forensic autopsy for medicolegal purposes or special needs have arisen during a hospital-based autopsy and permission has been granted by the legal custodian of the body), the wording caused the resident to wonder whether the physician understood and conveyed to the next of kin the nature of routine autopsy procedures. A review of other autopsy authorization forms showed that similar wording was common, such as "keep the head intact," "be gentle, would like open-casket funeral," "keep facial features natural," and "be careful to do nice surgical incisions."



Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?

First Page Preview

View Large
First page PDF preview





Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

2 Citations

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
PubMed Articles

Care at the Close of Life: Evidence and Experience
Autopsy, Organ or Body Donation, and Funeral Arrangements

The Rational Clinical Examination: Evidence-Based Clinical Diagnosis
Original Article: Does This Patient Have Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia?