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Are coroners’ necropsies necessary? A prospective study examining whether a “view and grant” system of death certification could be introduced into England and Wales
  1. S Leadbeatter,
  2. D James,
  3. A Davison
  1. Wales Institute of Forensic Medicine, B1 Link Corridor, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4XN, UK;

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    The paper by Rutty and colleagues1 fails to focus upon the key issues raised by the question it seeks to answer. Those issues are: (1) What is the “primary purpose” of coroners’ necropsies? (2) Is the “information available at the time of necropsy” adequate? (3) What is meant by postmortem examination? Does it only mean dissection of the whole body? (4) Under what circumstances should a necropsy be performed without regard to the views of the next of kin?

    In our view, this last issue is the most important and other issues should be dealt with within that context: none of these issues can be dealt with meaningfully without informed public debate. The authors pay lip service only to this question and reach a conclusion “ . . . we consider that necropsies still have an essential role within the coroner’s enquiry” …

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