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Med Sci Law. 2019 Jun 9:25802419855448. doi: 10.1177/0025802419855448. [Epub ahead of print]

Perceptions of medical students towards autopsy teaching and its significance.

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1 Department of Medicine, Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, India.
2 Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Jodhpur, India.
3 Department of Forensic Medicine, Lumbini Medical College and Teaching Hospital, Palpa, Nepal.
4 Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Rohtak, India.


The importance of autopsies in medical education is multidimensional. In accordance with the existing medical curriculum in India, forensic medicine is a subject taken up during the second year of the MBBS, and undergraduate students of medicine are expected to witness a minimum of 10 autopsies during the third to fifth semesters. This research analyses the perceptions of medical students towards medico-legal autopsy teaching and its significance at one medical institution in India. A total of 450 MBBS students participated in the study and submitted their responses to the predesigned semi-structured 20-point questionnaire on autopsy viewing and its relevance in general. The obtained data were analysed statistically using SPSS software. More than 75% of students agreed that they could appreciate the actual morphology and pathological changes in the human organs. There was a positive response from 54.9% students, who affirmed that autopsy helped refresh and improve their knowledge of human anatomy. More than 60% students agreed to have gained understanding of clinical-pathological correlations and became acquainted with death certification. The majority of the students (53.6%) agreed that autopsy postings made them mentally and emotionally stronger. The present study provides useful evidence regarding the perceptions of medical students towards autopsy teaching, and intends to highlight the utility of autopsies in enhancing the knowledge of medical students and its significance in the medical education curriculum.


Autopsies; anatomy; death; forensic medicine; pathology


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