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Journal of Tropical Medicine
Volume 2009, Article ID 718984, 3 pages
Clinical Study

The Role of Necropsy in Diagnostic Dilemmas as Seen in a Tertiary Hospital in North Central Nigeria

1Department of Pathology, Jos University Teaching Hospital, PMB 2076, Jos, 930001 Plateau State, Nigeria
2Department of Surgery, Jos University Teaching Hospital, PMB 2076, Jos, 930001 Plateau State, Nigeria
3Ministry of Justice, Jos, 930001 Plateau State, Nigeria

Received 10 September 2009; Accepted 30 November 2009

Academic Editor: Thomas R. Unnasch

Copyright © 2009 Olugbenga A. Silas et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Necropsy (autopsy) has helped medical science and law. It has given rise to numerous diagnostic surprises as it explains cause of death, pathogenesis of diseases, and circumstances of death. It also explains reasons for most therapeutic failures. In spite of its usefulness, the rate has dropped worldwide and Africa is worse hit. This work aims to highlight the role autopsy (Necropsy) plays in demystifying diagnostic dilemmas and to encourage its patronage by medical practitioners, law enforcement agents and society. Methods. This is a retrospective review of autopsy and clinical reports of cases seen by pathologists and physicians in the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), Jos, North central Nigeria. Results. A total 166 cases were studied out of which 52 had same diagnosis for both attending physician and pathologist, 106 had different diagnoses and in eight cases diagnoses remained unknown even after autopsy was performed. Conclusions. Autopsy remains an important tool for obtaining definitive diagnosis, determining cause of death to explain pathogenesis of diseases, medical auditing and a vital source of data for health statistics and planning.