Coroners Job Description video

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Coroners are medical detectives. They work with other investigators to find the cause of deaths that are accidental, violent, or unexplained. The coroner is a public official who may be appointed or elected. When a coroner is also a physician, he or she is called a medical examiner. The coroner may visit the scene of the death and confer with law enforcement and public health officials. Coroners perform or supervise autopsies and highly specialized lab tests. With all available facts in hand, it’s up to the coroner to assign a cause of death…and issue a death certificate. The coroner may be called to testify in court. Because their work may be used to convict a person of a crime, coroners need to be methodical and detail-oriented. The hours can be irregular and there's a lot of paperwork. Dealing with relatives of the deceased requires sensitivity and respect, and can be emotionally draining. Local laws define the coroner's duties. A college degree is a minimum requisite and a medical background is a plus. Some jurisdictions require that coroners have a background in forensic pathology. Many state coroners' associations offer certification programs. The work of coroners is an important service to the living. It can help to solve crimes and prevent future homicides or accidental deaths.

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