Attitudes toward clinical autopsy in unexpected patient deaths in Japan: A nation-wide survey of the general public and physicians

Etsuko Kamishiraki, Shoichi Maeda, Jay Starkey, Noriaki Ikeda

研究成果: Article査読

3 被引用数 (Scopus)


Context: Autopsy is a useful tool for understanding the cause and manner of unexpected patient death. However, the attitudes of the general public and physicians in Japan about clinical autopsy are limited. Objective: To describe the beliefs of the general public about whether autopsy should be performed and ascertain if they would actually request one given specific clinical situations where patient death occurred with the additional variable of medical error. To compare these attitudes with previously obtained attitudes of physicians practising at Japanese teaching hospitals. Design, setting and participants: We conducted a cross-sectional study of the general public. We sent standardised questionnaires in 2010 to a randomly selected non-physician adult population using a survey company for participant selection. Respondents gave their opinions about the necessity of autopsy and how they might act given various clinical scenarios of patient death. We compared these results with those of a previous survey of Japanese physicians conducted in 2009. Results: Of the 2300 eligible general adult population, 1575 (68.5%) responded. The majority of the general public indicated they believed an autopsy was necessary. However, in cases of unclear medical error or unclear cause and effect relationship of medical care and patient death, the general public were much less likely to indicate they would actually request an autopsy than were physicians (p<0.0001). Currently in Japan the debate about the role autopsy should play in the case of error related to death is underway. The results from this study will be important in informing related decisions.

ジャーナルJournal of Medical Ethics
出版ステータスPublished - 2012 12月

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • 健康(社会科学)
  • 人文科学(その他)
  • 健康政策
  • 諸問題の倫理的、法的側面


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