Postoperative death and malpractice suits: is autopsy useful?

Anesth Analg. 2000 Aug;91(2):344-6. doi: 10.1097/00000539-200008000-00020.


This report demonstrates the extremely high yield of autopsies performed in the case of postoperative death with suspicion of malpractice. They frequently identified undetected complications. They could also suggest faulty or negligent practice that would otherwise go unrecognized. This report supports the widespread use of autopsies to investigate perioperative death.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Autopsy*
  • Cause of Death
  • Diagnostic Errors
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malpractice / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / mortality*