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

Article


Carpenter, Belinda, Barnes, Michael, Naylor, Charles, 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), pp. 199 -208.
Article Title

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

ERA Journal ID33514
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsCarpenter, Belinda (Author), Barnes, Michael (Author), Naylor, Charles (Author), Adkins, Glenda (Author) and White, Brendan (Author)
Journal TitleJournal of Law and Medicine
Journal Citation 14 (2), pp. 199 -208
Number of Pages10
Year2006
PublisherLawbook Co.
Place of PublicationRozelle, Australia
ISSN1320-159X
Abstract

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.

Keywordsautopsies; coronial autopsy; coroner;
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020480504. Legal institutions (incl. courts and justice systems)
470207. Cultural theory
420306. Health care administration
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Byline AffiliationsQueensland University of Technology
Queensland State Coroner Office, Australia
Department of Health, Queensland
School of Accounting, Economics and Finance
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