24+ Pros and Cons of Autopsy (Explained)

Death is an inescapable part of every mortal life. It brings with it a sense of loss, void, emptiness, and helplessness when people survive the deaths of their near and dear ones.

They try to do the most in their capacity to treat the affected person and bring them to life but this effort, unfortunately, might not always prove to be fruitful.

Autopsies answer both the family members and medical professionals whether they did everything that could be done to save the patient. Apart from that, autopsies serve various other purposes that benefit the family, doctors and society.

Pros of AutopsyCons of Autopsy
Provides assurance to family members and friends about treatmentGetting consent from family can be hard
Might protect family members from similar diseases Family might be concerned about the disfigurement of the body
Helps in the investigation of new diseasesIt is not a pleasant task for the pathologists
Helps check doctors if the medicine worked as desiredIn some cases, autopsy might not guarantee the cause of death
Aids the research purposes of the medical communityIntentions of private autopsies might sometimes be unpleasant
Aid in research leads towards a healthier societyThere are various misconceptions regarding autopsies.
Makes legal processes easier and clearerAutopsies are not covered by health insurance
Does not interfere with funeral rituals
Presents valid mortality statistics
Makes detecting discrepancies easier

Pros of Autopsy

Assures Family Members

Autopsy confirms the cause of death which gives closure the family members of the deceased and relieves them psychologically and it confirms whether they did everything that could be done to save their loved one.

Protects Family Members

As autopsy uncovers the causes of death, it also uncovers any genetic disease that the deceased might have had, one that the family members might be susceptible to. This helps them take care of themselves accordingly.

Better Investigation of New Diseases

The investigation of new or relatively newer diseases can be better investigated with the help of autopsy. It helps uncover more traits about the diseases that are lesser known.

Efficacy of Treatment

Autopsy helps medical professionals to know if a certain treatment worked well for a disease. This is specially done for those that are lesser-known so that the required data is received, recorded and put to use when required.

Serves Research Purposes

The data obtained from the autopsy is used for research purposes. The investigation of the disease and checking the efficacy of the treatment serves the research purposes and finally helps in the betterment of the medical field.

Better for Society

All the research that is done through autopsy ultimately contributes towards building a healthier society so that cure come by easily to the affected person. A society that is cured from its diseases or suffers lesser physical ailments will develop faster.

Aids Legal Processes

In case of unnatural deaths, an autopsy confirms the cause of death which aids the legal proceedings and makes them faster. A confirmed autopsy report is uncontended in the court of law and can be presented as evidence to the ongoing case.

Does Not Interfere with Funeral Rituals

An autopsy keeps the body of the deceased unharmed and does not hinder any funeral rites including open casket service. The family can perform all the funeral rites even after the body of the deceased goes through the process of the autopsy.

Valid Mortality Statistics

Autopsy provides better accuracy in determining the cause of death of a person than clinical diagnosis. Many times clinical diagnosis proves to be wrong whereas autopsy gives a better result. Determining the proper cause of the death helps provide more accurate mortality statistics with the proper cause of the death.

Detecting Discrepancy

Autopsy makes detecting discrepancies easier. Autopsy not only confirms the cause of death, it also provides more information about the cause.

The doctors can study deeper into the failure of the treatment and determine the cause of the failure and focus on the limitations and uncertainties that thrive even in the most technologically advanced societies. 

Cons of Autopsy

Obtaining Consent

Nowadays most people do not have family doctors or go to a number of doctors. Because of this, no personal relationship builds up between the doctor and the family members of the patient.

If the doctor and the patient’s family do not have a close personal relationship, then it might be hard to receive the consent of the family to perform an autopsy on the body of the deceased.

Concern About Disfigurement

One of the main reasons for which it might be hard to receive the consent of the family is that most people believe that autopsy disfigures the body, which is a myth.

Unpleasant Task

The reason why many pathologists might not be interested in performing autopsy is that is it not a very pleasant task and takes a lot of their time for which they receive no incentive.

Chances of The Cause of Death Being Ambiguious

There are a few cases where autopsy cannot confirm the cause of death, like in the case of heart arrhythmia. In the such cases, the effort and capital put behind the autopsy goes to waste.

Intention of Private Autopsy

The intention of private autopsies might not always be fair. Families might perform private autopsies with the intention of putting the doctor in trouble or as a result if grudge against the doctor.


One of the misconceptions about autopsies is that people think that it takes a long time to perform an autopsy and thus it might cause a hindrance to the funeral rites. Whereas autopsy only takes a few hours and the body of the deceased with be in time for the funeral.

Not Covered by Health Insurance

Autopsies are not covered by health insurance. This stands as one of the reasons why families do not think of doing autopsies to confirm the cause of death.

Autopsy might take a lot of time and effort of the people concerned, but it is an effective way to research in detail about diseases and their treatments.

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