Knowledge, attitude and perception of family members on medico-legal autopsy: a critical review

AUTHOR(s) : Mahanta P, Gogoi K
DOI No. : 10.31741/ijhrmlp.v8.i1.2022.14


In case of an unnatural, sudden, and suspicious death, medico-legal autopsies play a vital role in identifying the cause of death. Though consent is not required for a medico-legal autopsy (MLA), a pathological autopsy needs permission from the legal custodians in India. The knowledge, attitude, and perceptions (KAP) of the deceased's family members towards MLA may help the forensic fraternity and administrations handle situations demanding an autopsy and assess the reasons for the refusal of an MLA by the family members of the deceased. Studies have been conducted worldwide to understand family members' KAP about the procedures of it. The findings of which have been along the same lines. The general KAP about autopsy vary significantly in various countries and communities. The moral, ethical and legal issues also vary. Even today, these attitudes are encountered, and further consideration would carry us too far afield. Even many of us argue today that more autopsies are performed than necessary. Still, everyone should remember that it can detect the underlying cause, which was not suspected during the person's life. The growing awareness of genetic factors' influence on disease is also demonstrated at autopsy. It should be remembered that autopsies can provide peace of mind for the bereaved family on many occasions. Therefore, an autopsy should be encouraged regardless of caste, community, and religion upon unnatural, obscure, suspicious deaths. 

Keywords: Religious prohibition; community support; pathological autopsy. 

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