Suggestions For Conducting Interviews

1. Before you go to an interview, familiarize yourself with the history of the deceased, and discuss the case with the attending physician. As a minimum, the attending physician should be made aware of the interview and thus can provide the needed information.

2. Do not wear your hospital attire. Your attitude should be unhurried and adapted to the emotional needs of the family.

3. At the time of the interview, introduce yourself, present a card with your name and address, and ask for the names of the persons present and their kinship to the deceased. Failing to do this, pathologists may find themselves talking to newspaper reporters, private investigators, or curious neighbors. The possible legal consequences are obvious.

4. Report your findings in appropriate lay terms that the family members can comprehend. Omit unimportant findings. Be sure that your report is understood, and encourage the family to ask questions. The risk of the same fatal disease afflicting other members of the family often needs to be discussed, and in some cases arrangements must be made for genetic counseling at a later date.

5. Occasionally, the emotional shock to the next of kin may make an interview futile. In such a case it is better to postpone the interview or, if agreeable to the family, talk to their closest friend or clergyman. If the results of histologic, microbiologic, or chemical studies must be awaited, explain this to the next of kin and give a date when a final report can be expected. Point out that the attending and referring physicians also will receive such a report. Allow ample time for your workup. It is easier to explain the difficulties of laboratory procedures and to point out to the next of kin that they may have to wait for 6 wk than to promise an earlier date that cannot be kept. Delays of more than 6 wk should be considered unacceptable; at least telephone contact should be made by that time to explain why still more time is needed.

6. Express your appreciation for the permission to perform an autopsy and point out that others may be helped with the insights that were gained from the procedure. If organs or tissues had been donated for transplantation or other purposes, this should be especially acknowledged. However, the pathologist must remember that no information may be provided about the recipients of such donations. It is easiest to refer such questions to the transplant coordinator.

7. After the interview, dictate and sign a report of what was said. This should also include the time and place of the interview, the names and addresses of the persons present, and their kinship to the deceased. Bring to the attention of the attending physician all grievances or other important points that might have been mentioned during the interview. Sometimes, the clinical abstract that typically is part of the autopsy documents must be supplemented with details that were revealed during the interview.

Blood Pressure Health

Blood Pressure Health

Your heart pumps blood throughout your body using a network of tubing called arteries and capillaries which return the blood back to your heart via your veins. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart beats.Learn more...

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