Pathologists' views on consent for autopsy

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SUMMARYConsent to autopsy is usually obtained by a doctor other than the one who will perform the procedure. There is an argument that, for proper informed consent, a pathologist should participate. We ascertained the views of consultant pathologists in south-east England.53 (87%) of 61 consultants responded, of whom 50 currently do autopsies. Only 2 at present participate directly in obtaining consent, and 10 of the remaining 48 expressed willingness to do so. The general view was that consent is best obtained by a senior clinician from the team that has looked after the patient.Pathologists see their primary role as to provide guidance to clinicians. Few see it as their function to obtain consent for autopsy.

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