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The Autopsy in the Medicine of the 21st Century

Demetrio Elías Torres1* & Rafael Moreno2

1Physician, Radiation-Oncology Service, Cancer Center, Nuestra Sra, De la Esperanza, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
2Anesthesiology in chief. Clínica, San Francisco, San Fernando, Chile

Dr. Demetrio Elías Torres, Physician, Radiation-Oncology Service, Cancer Center, Nuestra Sra. De la Esperanza, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.

Keywords: Autopsy; X-rays; Pathology

Abstract

The advancement of medicine in the previous century and in what runs of our century has led to the perception, both of patients and many students and professionals, that the combination of clinical experience and new study methods grant a 100% diagnostic certainty [1]. Despite how tempting this option might seem, practice and literature guide us to think differently ... to have a somewhat more critical view. In this context, the autopsy has been crucial to understanding the natural history of the disease and the efficacy of our treatment attempts, with a well-described pedagogical role, also demonstrating our mistakes and potential ways to improve [2]. Röentgen’s great contribution to the description of X-rays in December 1895 and its early diagnostic and therapeutic use has been fundamental in the development of medical sciences, but we cannot forget that they are methods, sometimes operator dependent (in example echography) and subject to interpretation; specifying in most cases the diagnostic confirmation given by the pathologist’s vision either postmortem or in the study of surgical pieces in the biopsy, which confirms the “Gold Standard” character of the technique [1-3]. Perhaps some of the readers have not lived the experience of being certain by physical examination, laboratory, and images of diagnosis; to take the surprise of a different pathological entity after observing the result of the biopsy. Why should this same phenomenon not happen with the autopsy?

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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