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Medicolegal Death Investigation: Coroner System Essay

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Updated: May 13th, 2021

Coroner System

Coroner and Medical Examiner Systems: Description and Comparison

The coroner system implies that a coroner should be at the helm of the death investigation process. A coroner carries out the investigation related to the case, defines the causes thereof, and confirms the incidence of death. It is also the responsibility of a coroner to provide death certification, as well as keep the existing records of the incident. The origin of the system can be traced to the legal system of 12th-century England (Cheung, Merry, & Sundram, 2015).

The medical examiner system is much younger compared to the coroner one, and it has a significantly different origin – unlike the coroner system, it came from France and appeared in the U.S. legislation system in the early 19th century (Dorion, 2016). The medical examiner system implies that a person with a medical degree should carry out the processes associated with determining the cause of death, the manner thereof, and its certification (Fineschi, ‎Baroldi, ‎& Silver, 2016). NCBI (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK221926/) was used to research the differences between the two systems (Hanzlick, n.d.).

Qualifications for Becoming a Medical Examiner in New York

In New York, the coroner system is not deployed. Instead, the medical examination system is used. To become a coroner in New York, one must have a Doctor of Medicine degree, have a license, and be a member of the forensic pathology fellowship (NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner, 2017).

Coroner or Medical Examiner?

Personally, I would choose the position of Medical Examiner. The identified job seems to have more opportunities for professional growth, including the chances to develop new skills and acquire new knowledge. Thus, I will be able to engage in active learning. The jurisdiction of my choice is also quite popular among the rest of the students.

Cause and Manner of Death; Death Certifications

Traditionally, the classification of deaths is used to handle the associated medical cases and carry out the appropriate investigations. Three primary characteristics thereof are identified, i.e., the cause, manner, and certification of death. As a rule, the cause of death is defined as the set of factors related to either a disease or injury suffered by the deceased that led to dying (DiMaio & Dana, 2006). There is a very fine line between the cause and the mechanism of death; particularly, the former describes the factors that triggered death, whereas the latter addresses the physiological derangements triggered by the cause of death (DiMaio & Dana, 2006). For instance, drowning may be the cause of death, whereas hypoxemia is the mechanism thereof.

The manner of death, in turn, implies the description of how a person died. There is a classification of possible manners of death. Traditionally, several types thereof are identified; they include a natural death, accident, suicide, homicide, an undetermined manner of death, and an unclassified one (DiMaio & Dana, 2006). In the scenario described above, homicide can be viewed as the manner of death in case the deceased was pushed into the water intentionally. Death certifications, in turn, can be obtained by means of either an autopsy or external examination (DiMaio & Dana, 2006).

References

Cheung, C., Merry, S., & Sundram, F. (2015). Medical examiner and coroner reports: Uses and limitations in the epidemiology and prevention of late-life suicide. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 13(9), 1-23.

DiMaio, V. J. M., & Dana, E. D. (2006). Handbook of forensic pathology (2nd ed.). Chicago, IL: CRC Press.

Dorion, R. B. J. (2016). Bitemark evidence: A color atlas and text (2nd ed.). Chicago, IL: CRC Press.

Fineschi, V., ‎Baroldi, G., ‎& Silver, M. D. (2016). Pathology of the heart and sudden death in forensic medicine. Chicago, IL: CRC Press.

Hanzlick, R. (n.d.). . Web.

NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner. (2017). . Web.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Medicolegal Death Investigation: Coroner System'. 13 May.

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