Ethik in der Medizin 11 (3):169-181 (1999)

Definition of the problem: In Germany, the dissection rate of the deceased is distinctly lower than in many other European countries. Although critics of autopsies use to put forward ethical objections and religious scruples, neither the Christian church nor piety stand opposite to the practise of autopsies.Arguments: From an ethical point of view, there are numerous arguments for an increase in the number of autopsies. It can be shown that not only the deceased, his relations and the physicians but also the population as a whole could take advantage of a higher percentage of dissections. In Germany, law authorities put much more emphasis on the regulation of birth and origin of life than on problems concerning dying and death of human beings. Legal obstacles and tendentious reporting by the mass media are serious reasons for the poor popularity of dissections of the corpse.Conclusion: For many reasons, comprehensive and unbiassed information about autopsies, fundamental legislative reforms and an increase of the dissection rate have to be claimed
Keywords Key words: Postmortem examination  Dissection rate  Ethical implications  Schlüsselwörter: Leichenschau  Sektionsfrequenz  ethische Implikationen
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DOI 10.1007/s004810050072
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