Nigerian Medical Practitioner

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Attitude and Perceptions of Clinicians in Lagos to Autopsy Practice

BA Ojo, MO Buhari, SA Malami, MC Izegbu


Using pretested questionnaire instrument, a cross sectional survey of clinicians working in the Lagos University Teaching Hospital to obtain their attitudes and perception towards autopsy practice. 230 questionnaires were administered and the response rate was 80.7% . 41.5% of respondents often requested for autopsy. The indication for autopsy request included medicolegal reasons (63.5%), inability to arrive at antemortem diagnosis (22%) while improving clinical diagnosis and patients care constituted 62%.

While 98.2% of the respondents believed that autopsy reports are valuable to medical practice, 98% of them believed that the report will affect their practice in a way. The interval between autopsies and issuances of reports ranges from 0-3 weeks (3% of cases) to 4-6 months, (91% of cases). The reasons for this delay include relegation of autopsy pathology as a surbodinate of research or surgical pathology and lack of motivation for the pathologist who is no longer compensated in any way that would encourage his effort.

The study shows that you rarely see requesting clinicians at autopsy demonstration of cases managed by them. Clinicians seldom visit to the autopsy room, this is seen by the pathologist as an expression of lack of interest in the autopsy and the clinicians who received the autopsy report late may find little encouragement to try again with the next case. There is a need to change the attitude and perception of all categories of clinicians to autopsy through proper orientation and education.

Nigerian Medical Practitioner 46(2) 2004: 27-29
AJOL African Journals Online