Several decades ago autopsies were routine when a patient died in a United States hospital. Approximately half of patients who died in hospitals in the mid 20th century received autopsies. Today, only about five percent of patients who die in U.S. hospitals receive autopsies.

The impact of the low rate of autopsies may have far reaching consequences that could impact your family, even if you have not lost a loved one. The low number of autopsies may have a negative impact on the quality of healthcare in this country and may create a need for more families to contact an Atlanta medical malpractice attorney.

Why Autopsies Are Important
Despite the dramatic decrease in autopsies, autopsies remain important even when no crime is suspected. Autopsies can provide answers to medical questions that are impossible to answer when a patient is still living. For example, an autopsy may show:

  • Diagnostic errors. A study done in 2002 by the Federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found diagnostic errors in about 25% of autopsies and found that the failure to diagnose correctly was a factor in about 10% of autopsies completed.
  • Whether treatment was effective
  • How a disease progressed

These findings could be important to an individual family and to other families who will never know the deceased, but who may benefit from improvements in diagnoses and treatment made because of information learned in autopsies.

How an Atlanta Medical Malpractice Attorney May Help if You’ve Been the Victim of Malpractice
You may not need an autopsy to find out that your loved one’s death was caused by a failure to diagnose or a failure to treat appropriately. If you believe that your loved one’s death was caused by medical malpractice in Georgia, then it is important to contact an experienced Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer at 770.518.1133 to learn more about your rights. You can also read a FREE copy of our book, Why Did This Critical Medical Error Happen to Me, to learn more about why the mistake may have happened and about your possible legal recovery.