Audit in forensic pathology

Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2000 Sep;21(3):230-6. doi: 10.1097/00000433-200009000-00009.


Autopsy numbers in Australian hospitals have declined markedly during the past decade despite evidence of a relatively static rate of demonstrable clinical misdiagnosis during this time. The reason for this decrease in autopsy numbers is multifactorial and may include a general lack of clinical and pathologic interest in the autopsy with a possible decline in autopsy standard, a lack of clinicopathologic correlation after autopsies, and an increased emphasis on surgical biopsy reporting within hospital pathology departments. Although forensic autopsies are currently maintaining their numbers, it is incumbent on forensic pathologists to demonstrate the wealth of important information a carefully performed postmortem examination can reveal. To this end, the Pathology Division of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine has instituted a program of minimum standards in varied types of coroner cases and commenced a system of internal and external audit. The minimum standard for a routine, sudden, presumed natural death is presented and the audit system is discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Autopsy / standards
  • Autopsy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Forensic Medicine / standards*
  • Humans
  • Medical Audit*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care*
  • Victoria