Increasing the Information available to Coroners : the effect on autopsy decision making

Carpenter, Belinda J., Tait, Gordon, Barnes, Michael, Adkins, Barbara A., Naylor, Charles, Begum, Nelufa, & (2009) Increasing the Information available to Coroners : the effect on autopsy decision making. Medicine, Science and the Law, 49(2), pp. 101-109.

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This paper details research completed in 2007 which investigated autopsy decision making in a death investigation. The data was gathered during the first year of operation of a new Coroners Act in Queensland, Australia, which changed the process of death investigation in three ways which are important to this paper. First, it required a greater amount of information to be gathered at the scene by police, and this included a thorough investigation of the circumstances of the death, including statements from witnesses, friends and family, as well as evidence gathering at the scene. Second, it required Coroners, for the first time, to determine the level of invasiveness of the autopsy required to complete the death investigation. Third, it enabled the communication of a genuine family concern, to be communicated to the Coroner. The outcome of such information was threefold. First, a greater amount of information offered to the Coroner led to a decrease in the number of full internal autopsies ordered, but an increase in the number of partial internal autopsies ordered. Second, this shift in autopsy decision making by Coroners saw certain factors given greater importance than others in decisions to order full internal or external only autopsies. Third, a raised family concern had a significant impact on autopsy decision making and tended to decrease the invasiveness of the autopsy ordered by Coroners.

Impact and interest:

4 citations in Scopus
1 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 28887
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Autopsy, Coronial system
ISSN: 0025-8024
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Law and Society (180119)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Health Law Research
Current > Research Centres > Law and Justice Research Centre
Past > Schools > School of Cultural & Language Studies in Education
Current > Schools > School of Justice
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Barnsbury Publishing.
Deposited On: 27 Nov 2009 05:46
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2015 01:32

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