What percentage of deaths in the US are accompanied by an autopsy? I know that the deceased's relatives must give consent for an autopsy to be performed (if they do not already know the will of the deceased beforehand), but what are the circumstances in which autopsies are performed?

Obviously, it's when a Jane/John doe's body is found, a murder/suspected murder has taken place, death is caused by an unknown reason, medical malpractice may be the culprit of the death, the body experienced traumatic exposure to the elements, scientific research conducted, a third-party (e.g. medications or faulty devices like parts of a car), may have contributed to the demise, etc. What are others?

My friend and I were discussing and he thought that autopsies were performed on EVERYONE, unless the deceased's loved one's did not give permission, because the death certificate had to state the cause of death. But I think this is wrong; I know it's wrong. Because I know plenty of elderly people who have died in the hospital and did not undergo autopsies. The cause of death could be apparent; an autopsy is not necessarily needed to determine cause of death. In fact, wouldn't autopsies be an exception the rule? Because of the expenses surely tied to it?

How many are actually done?



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