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Eur J Gen Pract. 2017 Nov 23:1-6. doi: 10.1080/13814788.2017.1389884. [Epub ahead of print]

Knowledge, competencies and attitudes regarding external post-mortem physical examination: A survey among German post-graduate trainees in general practice.

Author information

1
a Institute of General Practice and Multi-Disciplinary Healthcare , University Hospital and Faculty of Medicine Tübingen , Tübingen , Germany.
2
b Department of General Practice and Health Services Research , University of Heidelberg Hospital , Heidelberg , Germany.
3
c Institute of Family Medicine , University Hospital , Lübeck , Germany.
4
d Institute for Forensic and Traffic Medicine , University of Heidelberg Hospital , Heidelberg , Germany.
5
e Health Department , City Mannheim , Mannheim , Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The external post-mortem examination (EPME) is an important medical, legal and socio-economic task with far-reaching relevance; however, due to discrepancies between findings from EPMEs and actual cause of death, improvements in accuracy and quality are needed.

OBJECTIVES:

To investigate knowledge, competencies and attitudes regarding EPME in general practitioner (GP) post-graduate trainees.

METHODS:

Before four post-graduate training courses on the EPME for general practitioner trainees, organized in 2014 in the German federal state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, a questionnaire on the EPME was distributed by the lecturer, completed by the GP post-graduate trainees and returned to the lecturer. The questionnaire consisted of 19 items related to three main categories: knowledge, competencies and attitudes.

RESULTS:

Out of 380 GP post-graduate trainees, 128 completed and returned the questionnaire (response rate 33.7%). Less than 18% felt adequately confident in identifying a natural cause of death and less than 5% felt adequately confident in identifying an unnatural cause of death. Only 33% consistently fully uncover the corpse for the EPME.

CONCLUSION:

We found an important uncertainty in GP post-graduate trainees regarding their EPME knowledge and competencies.

KEYWORDS:

General practitioner; legal medicine; medical education; post-graduate training; post-mortem examination

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