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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Katie L Dennis, MD (University of Kansas Medical Center)
Description: This concise manual describes how to write autopsy reports, including how to describe disease and injury, form opinions, and communicate effectively with families and physicians. Instructions on how to properly fill out a death certificate are included as well as sample report formats and opinions.
Purpose: The book provides guidelines for producing well-constructed autopsy reports, including not only how best to form opinions, but also how to communicate those opinions effectively.
Audience: Although pathologists in training, such as residents or fellows, are the intended audience, practicing autopsy pathologists and forensic pathologists also will find this an excellent reference to have on hand.
Features: All aspects of the autopsy report and death certificate are covered, along with explanations of the purpose of each section of the report. Helpful subjects, such as how to describe diseases and injuries, what information to include and omit, common errors to avoid, record retention, and how to determine the cause, manner, and mechanism of death are included. There is even a chapter devoted to writing style, structure, and grammar.
Assessment: This is a very useful book for any pathologist performing autopsies, but especially for pathologists in training who are just learning how to report autopsy findings. Particularly useful are the numerous examples throughout the book and in the appendixes. This is a valuable resource for trainees wanting to learn how to accurately interpret autopsy findings, and how to communicate those findings to the personnel who read the reports.