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
Examination of the Body
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
Who Controls the Scene of Death?
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
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
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
Presentation, Clothing, and Personal Effects
Features of Identification
Diagnostic and Therapeutic Artifacts
Chest and Abdomen
Report of Histologic Sections
A Day at the Medical Examiner's Office
Useful Web Sites
"A great read. Very informative."
– In Journal of the American Association of Forensic Dentists, April-June 2008