Instruments required for “opening a body” [autopsy]
*The term “L’ouverture d’un corps” was used at this point in time to refer to an investigation into the cause of death, not a general dissection
Though most deaths were simply chalked up to diseases and common causes of the day, there were a limited number of legitimate and well-performed autopsies that took place before Rudolf Virchow’s book on standardization of autopsy procedures was published, in 1850.
The vast majority of those autopsies were performed so as to prove cause of death for a murder trial. In this particular book, M. Dionis also notes that you can easily discern the work of particularly bad surgeons on a cadaver, and that they ought to be held accountable for at least contributing to the death. Mind you, this was a time when 60%+ surgeries were ultimately fatal, so these surgeons that M. Dionis is implicating must have been particularly awful at their job…
Cours d’Operations de Chirurgie. M. Dionis, 1757.