Post-Mortem Examinations

The coroner’s post-mortem examination is an independent, judicially authorised medical examination to ascertain the cause of death.

The coroner’s post-mortem examination is also referred to as an autopsy.

The coroner will often need to instruct a pathologist to examine the body and report on the medical cause of death. This will be to ascertain whether the death was natural and how, in medical terms, the death occurred.

The term “post-mortem examination” can include other forms of examination other than the invasive post-mortem examination (autopsy). Cross-sectional imaging (the results of a CT scan or MRI scan) may also be used where appropriate. See the Chief Coroner’s Guidance No.1 The Use of Post-Mortem Imaging (Adults).

The term “post-mortem examination” also includes the examination or testing of organs, tissue or fluids (which may be requested after the initial autopsy has been carried out).


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