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Beginning in the 1950s, hospital autopsy rates started falling from an average of around 50% of all deaths to 10% in the late 1990s. Currently, the rates are even lower at non-teaching hospitals. Many factors are likely responsible for the reduction in autopsy rates, including the belief that modern diagnostic technology renders a postmortem examination obsolete. However, multiple studies have shown that autopsies still reveal a number of significant conditions and findings that were previously unknown and can provide valuable information to physician and relatives of the deceased.
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