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Original Research Papers

Perceptions of medical students on autopsy and its significance as a teaching-learning method

Authors:

D. H. Edussuriya ,

University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, LK
About D. H.
Medical Education (Forensic Medicine)
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P. Paranitharan,

University of Kelaniya, Kalaniya, LK
About P.
Forensic Medicine
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W. N. S. Perera,

University of Kelaniya, Kalaniya, LK
About W. N. S.
Forensic Medicine
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M. G. N. I. Thilakarathne,

University of Peradeniya, LK
About M. G. N. I.
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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W. M. S. Y. Wijesiriwardena,

University of Peradeniya, LK
About W. M. S. Y.
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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C. Nanayakkara

University of Peradeniya, LK
About C.
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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Abstract

Background: Performance of autopsies as a learning experience for undergraduate medical students is declining in most developed countries. Sri Lankan universities continue to employ autopsies for teaching purposes. Perceptions of medical students towards this exercise has not been explored in the recent past.

 

Objectives: To determine perceptions of medical students towards autopsy and its significance as a learning experience.

 

Methods: An online questionnaire to determine the perceptions of 4th year medical students who had completed the clerkship in Forensic Medicine on autopsy and its significance as a teaching-learning method was administered to students of two faculties of medicine in Sri Lanka.

 

Results; Medical students considered the autopsy as a positive learning experience in terms of learning anatomy and pathology. They felt that they should witness more autopsies and assist in dissections during autopsy. However, a significant proportion was not sensitive to the emotional nature of the experience and a majority were not comfortable in the autopsy environment and process and stated that they would not consent to an autopsy of someone close to them if the need arose.

 

Conclusion: It is necessary to make the best use of the undergraduate autopsy experience by increasing exposure to autopsy, allowing students to assist at autopsy and drawing the attention of students to the emotional aspect during the experience and promoting the specialty while highlighting the role of the Forensic Pathologist in ensuring justice.
How to Cite: Edussuriya, D.H., Paranitharan, P., Perera, W.N.S., Thilakarathne, M.G.N.I., Wijesiriwardena, W.M.S.Y. and Nanayakkara, C., 2021. Perceptions of medical students on autopsy and its significance as a teaching-learning method. Sri Lanka Journal of Medicine, 30(1), pp.44–52. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljm.v30i1.235
Published on 01 Jul 2021.
Peer Reviewed

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