An Autopsy Checklist: A Monitor of Safety and Risk Management

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid

Abstract

Any autopsy has safety and risk management issues, which can arise in the preautopsy, autopsy, and postautopsy phases. The London Health Sciences Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Autopsy Checklist was developed to address these issues. The current study assessed 1 measure of autopsy safety: the effectiveness of the checklist in documenting pathologists’ communication of the actual or potential risk of blood-borne infections to support staff. Autopsy checklists for cases done in 2012 and 2013 were reviewed. The frequency of communication, as recorded in checklists, by pathologists to staff of previously diagnosed blood-borne infections (hepatitis B/C and human immunodeficiency virus) or the risk of infection based on lifestyle (eg, intravenous drug abuse) was tabulated. These data were compared with medical histories of the deceased and circumstances of their deaths described in the final autopsy reports. Information about blood-borne infections was recorded less frequently in the checklists compared with the final reports. Of 4 known human immunodeficiency virus cases, there was no checklist documentation in 3. All 11 hand injuries were documented. None of these cases had known infectious risks. The Autopsy Checklist is a standardized means of documenting safety and risk issues arising during the autopsy process, but its effectiveness relies on accurate completion.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles