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Knowledge towards post-mortem examination and reasons for not specialising in morbid anatomy: study among medical undergraduate students

Inderjit Singh Bagga, Vipin Goyal, Abhishek Singh, Hitesh Chawla, Shewtank Goel, Sakshi Sharma.

Background: The use of autopsy in medical education has been declining just as autopsy rate has been falling worldwide. This is further worsened by the prevention of medical students from attending autopsy sections in some areas. Aim of the study was to ascertain the knowledge of medical students towards autopsy and post-mortem examination. An additional objective was to assess reasons for not specialising in morbid anatomy.
Methods: The present cross sectional study was carried out among students of a medical college in Uttar Pradesh in the month of February 2016 using pretested self-administered questionnaire. The study population consisted of undergraduate medical students who were currently studying the forensic medicine and toxicology. A detailed proforma containing 20 questions was framed for the purpose of capturing socio-demographic information of the study participants, questions concerning knowledge about the post-mortem and reasons for not specializing in morbid anatomy.
Results: 82.2% were aware that post-mortems are conducted to know the cause and manner of death. Three students (3.3%) opined that the post-mortem is to harass the relatives of the deceased. Almost all the students were having a fair knowledge about the gross procedure involved in the post-mortem examination. Majority of male students would not wish to specialize in morbid anatomy because it deals with death, while most of female students said either they had made up their mind to specialize in some other fields or they do not want to touch and dissect dead bodies.
Conclusions: Students possess a reasonable knowledge about post-mortem but knowledge alone may not be enough for increasing the post-mortem/autopsy rate, unless they acquire the skills required for the procedure as currently they are not provided with any training during their medical curriculum.

Key words: Autopsy, Medical students, KAP study

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