"Death Investigation: Systems and Procedures" is the first book dedicated to the topic of death investigation from a legal standpoint as well as the administrative and operational procedures that pertain to the medical examiner and the coroner system in the United States. Unique in its perspective, this book is the only one not concerned with instructing on investigatory conduct, autopsy procedure, pathology, or the solving of crimes. Instead, it explains the concepts and principles of death investigation established by governments, and outlines the legal and administrative steps that must be taken throughout the case. Beginning with an introduction to the basic types of death investigation, the text explains the circumstances and statutory basis for death investigation systems. The author provides specific details about the role of coroners, medical examiners, and other forensic scientists and personnel who may officially be a part of the investigation. The overall goals of the investigations are included along with case studies and examples illustrating the procedures used in each type. The author also adds a brief summary of the specific system employed by each state.
A considerable portion of the book is devoted to practical considerations such as the contents of the autopsy report, the death certificate, principles and issues related to evidence and expert witnesses, as well as a description of a typical day at a medical examiner's or coroner's office. Well referenced with websites and sources of further information, "Death Investigation: Systems and Procedures" provides a comprehensive, concise procedural reference to students and professionals including lawyers, crime scene technicians, and anyone who works with death investigation data, or within the death investigation systems in the United States.
General Aspects of Death Investigation Why Know about Death Investigation? What Is a Death Investigation? Initial Collection of Information Scene Investigation Examination of the Body Ancillary Investigations Report Preparation Basic Types of Death Investigation Medicolegal Death Investigation Institution-Based Death Investigation Private Death Investigation Public Health Death Investigations Who Actually Performs Death Investigations? The State and Local Nature of Medicolegal Death Investigation Where Are Death Investigations Conducted? How Death Investigations Are Funded More on the People Who Investigate Forensic Pathologists Coroners Medical Examiners Death Investigators Who Controls the Scene of Death? Forensic Scientists Goals of Death Investigations Basic Goals of Medicolegal Death Investigation Goals of Institution-Based and Private Death Investigations Examples of Death Investigations by Type A Typical Institution-Based Death Investigation A Typical Private Death Investigation A Typical Medicolegal Death Investigation Death Investigation: The Rake Analogy Specific Features of Medicolegal Death Investigations What Types of Deaths Are Reportable to the Medical Examiner or Coroner? Examples of Medicolegal Death Investigation Systems Types of Medicolegal Death Investigation by State Special Circumstances What about Mass Fatality Incidents? Deaths on Indian Reservations or Federal Property Other Death Investigation Topics Who May Give Permission for an Autopsy? The Autopsy Report The Death Certificate Exhumations Death Investigation and Funeral Arrangements Principles of Evidence What Is an Expert? What If You Disagree? Death Investigation and Insurance Policies Classic Dilemmas in Death Investigation Professional Death Investigation Organizations Access to Death Investigation Information Pronouncement of Death Deaths in Custody and Public Institutions Criminal and Civil Law Issues Sample Autopsy Report Reason for Performing an Examination Date and Time of Examination Postmortem x-rays Presentation, Clothing, and Personal Effects Features of Identification Diagnostic and Therapeutic Artifacts Postmortem Changes External Examination Internal Examination Chest and Abdomen Cardiovascular System Respiratory System Gastrointestinal System Hepatobiliary System Urogenital System Reticuloendothelial System Musculoskeletal System Endocrine System Neck Head Report of Histologic Sections Other Procedures Final Assessment Clinical Information Autopsy Findings A Day at the Medical Examiner's Office Further Reading Useful Web Sites Index