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The Suprising Truth About Coroners

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Who decides whether a deceased person was the victim of foul play or an accident?  If you're like most people you might assume that a physician would be that person.  More specifically, you might reasonably assume that a pathologist - a physician with expertise in autopsy - would be that person.  You might even assume the person to be a forensic pathologist - a person whose sub-specialty is all about making medical determinations regarding the cause of death when important legal issues might be in play.

Sadly, you're probably wrong.  In many jurisdictions the person who makes these decisions - the coroner - is not a physician and may not even have a graduate education.  And rather than being appointed based on their education and training, many are elected.

The potential problems are obvious and the solutions are worth seriously considering.

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