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An older and younger man console each other after an autopsy report.

The autopsy is a crucial medical procedure that can help determine the cause of death. Autopsies can help provide closure for loved ones coping with a loss. They also serve a scientific purpose by expanding the knowledge base of medicine. Yale Medicine’s Department of Pathology performs about 250 autopsies each year, which accounts for about 10 percent of the deaths that occur at Yale New Haven Hospital and Bridgeport Hospital. 

“The autopsy is one of the mainstays of anatomical pathology,” says pathologist Jose Costa, MD. “Autopsies increase our knowledge of diseases and, in that way, are helpful to all of us. The autopsy is really the best way we have to evaluate the efficacy of therapies and diagnostic technologies and the overall performance of our medical system.”