Reporting on the Cause of Death

by MSO
Examining evidence for cause of death

After reviewing all the evidence a coroner will release a report outlining the cause of death.

After a post-mortem examination has been compiled by a pathologist, a coroner will generate a report, releasing their professional conclusion to the public on the cause of death based on their investigations. The document sums up all relevant data, explaining both circumstances and causes contributing to the death and may be written to a specific legal format to establish its authenticity.

In a coroner’s report, all findings are categorized and presented in an orderly manner, providing autopsy date, the times the procedure began and ended, an estimated time of death, the name of all clinicians participating in the autopsy, as well as any relevant information pertaining to the deceased, including name, age, weight, height and the initial cause of death as determined by law officials or medical personnel.

Within the report, the coroner will describe the analysis of test results taken from bodily fluids and tissue, including, blood, urine, stomach contents and organs. However, the examination doesn’t end there. The coroner will also make note of any kind of relate-able cause of death based on external evidence such as, bullet holes, hypodermic needle marks, bruises, cuts, contusions, broken bones, bite marks and other relevant blemishes.

When a coroner writes their report, the narrative style is drafted in first person, explaining the result they sought when commencing the autopsy and what they learned from distinguished findings, while using proper medical terminology and answering the “who, what, where, why and when’s” surrounding the death.

At the end of the coroner’s report, a conclusion will determine whether the coroner deemed the death due to natural causes, lawful or unlawful death, accidental or inconclusive, and will be written as a “statement of truth” (a statement signed by a party or legal representative to verify that the contents of the document are true).

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