Issues surrounding a reduction in the use of internal autopsy in the coronial system

Carpenter, Belinda and Barnes, Michael and Naylor, Charles and Adkins, Glenda and White, Brendan (2006) Issues surrounding a reduction in the use of internal autopsy in the coronial system. Journal of Law and Medicine, 14 (2). 199 -208. ISSN 1320-159X

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In 2003 it was estimated that 2,700 full internal coronial autopsies were performed in Queensland at a cost of approximately A$5.3 million. This large number of internal coronial autopsies (almost 95% of all matters referred to the coroner) is of concern not only due to the economic cost but also because of the public heath risks, availability of specialist staff and significant religious and cultural sensitivities surrounding internal autopsies. In 2005 the authors began research funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) to determine if unnecessary internal autopsies are being performed in Queensland and to establish guidelines for when an internal autopsy is required. This article highlights areas of potential concern when the issue of autopsy is reviewed within the coronial system through an examination of international literature on the issue of autopsy diagnosis and error rates more generally, and through preliminary discussion of the data obtained. The article considers the role and purpose of the autopsy generally as well as within the coronial system specifically; compares diagnostic error rates in hospital autopsies with those in the coronial system; the current situation internationally with regard to internal autopsies; and finally the specific circumstances existing in Queensland.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Business - Department of Economics and Resource Management
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2010 04:36
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2013 23:57
Uncontrolled Keywords: autopsies; coronial autopsy; coroner;
Fields of Research : 18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180120 Legal Institutions (incl. Courts and Justice Systems)
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200204 Cultural Theory
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111709 Health Care Administration
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940406 Legal Processes

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