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Free Content Autopsy acceptance rate and reasons for decline in Mulago Hospital, Kampala, Uganda

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Objective  To determine the autopsy acceptance rate and reasons for decline at Mulago Hospital, Kampala, Uganda.

Methods  The next of kin of patients who died in a combined infectious diseases and gastro‐enterology ward of Mulago Hospital were approached to answer a questionnaire concerning characteristics of their deceased relative. During the interview their consent was asked to perform a complete autopsy. If autopsy was declined, the next of kin were asked to provide their reason for the decline.

Results  Permission to perform an autopsy was requested in 158 (54%) of the 290 deaths that occurred during the study period. In 60 (38%) cases autopsy was accepted. Fifty‐nine autopsies were performed. For 82% of refusals a reason was listed; mainly ‘not wanting to delay the burial’ (58%), ‘no use to know the cause of death’ (16%) and ‘being satisfied with the clinical cause of death’ (10%).

Conclusion  The autopsy rate achieved under study conditions was 38% compared to rates of 5% in Mulago Hospital over the past decade. Timely request and rapid performance of autopsies appear to be important determinants of autopsy acceptance. A motivated team of pathologists and clinicians is required to increase autopsy acceptance.
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Language: English

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1:  Department of Clinical Sciences, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium 2:  Department of Pathology, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda 3:  Mulago Hospital, Department of Internal Medicine, Kampala, Uganda 4:  Infectious Diseases Institute, Makerere College of Health Sciences, Kampala, Uganda

Publication date: 01 August 2011

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