Performing procedures on the newly deceased

Acad Med. 2002 Dec;77(12 Pt 1):1212-6.


The report explores whether it is necessary to obtain informed consent before training procedures can be performed on the newly dead, weighing two conflicting considerations: the importance of protecting the integrity of the newly deceased with respect to family, society, and profession, and the need to educate health care providers. The report considers arguments against the need for consent, namely the benefit of having well-trained physicians, the contention that alternative models for teaching are inadequate, and the concerns that if consent were required, it rarely would be granted. These considerations are weighed against the value of respecting the sensitivities not only of families but also of medical teams, and the importance of preserving trust in the medical profession. The report concludes that performing procedures on the newly dead must proceed not randomly but rather in the context of a structured training sequence completed under close supervision, and recommends that physicians request permission from family members before performing such procedures.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autopsy / ethics*
  • Autopsy / standards
  • Cadaver
  • Education, Medical / ethics*
  • Education, Medical / standards
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent / ethics*
  • Informed Consent / standards
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards
  • Time Factors