Publications (1)0 Total impact
ABSTRACT: 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.