Postmortem: How Medical Examiners Explain Suspicious Deaths by Stefan Timmermans

By Stefan Timmermans

As elected coroners got here to get replaced by means of health workers with clinical education, the yank public turned enthusiastic about their paintings. From the grisly investigations showcased on hugely rated tv exhibits like C.S.I. to the bestselling mysteries that revolve round forensic technology, health workers have by no means been so visible—or compelling. They, they usually by myself, clear up the riddle of suspicious loss of life and the existential questions that include it. Why did anyone die? might it were avoided? may still anyone be held dependable? What are the results of ruling a demise a suicide, a murder, or an twist of fate? Can health workers unmask the precise crime? Postmortem is going deep contained in the global of health workers to discover the tricky net of pathological, social, criminal, and ethical matters within which they function. Stefan Timmermans spent years in a scientific examiner’s place of work, following circumstances, interviewing examiners, and staring at autopsies. whereas he relates interesting situations right here, he's additionally extra largely drawn to the cultural authority and duties that include being a health worker. even supposing those execs try to stay goal, health workers are still liable for comparing refined human intentions. accordingly, they could end—or start—criminal investigations, factor public health and wellbeing indicators, or even reason monetary achieve or damage to survivors. How medical experts communicate to the living on behalf of the useless, is Timmermans’s topic, printed the following within the day by day lives of the examiners themselves.

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Extra info for Postmortem: How Medical Examiners Explain Suspicious Deaths

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At stake is not only the job of the medical examiner, but also the results of the investigation. At stake is who died of suicide, who was murdered, who died accidentally, who died of natural causes, and who died for unknown reasons. At stake is the modern truth about suspicious death: the notion that cold tissues reveal a causal sequence and that knowledge of this sequence can restore order in social life. At stake is how we conceive of suicide, homicide, accident, and natural death. Following forensic pathologists at work, this book explores how the emergence of medical examiners as death investigators has affected the meanings of suspicious death.

The office also employed three pathology assistants (called dieners or agents in the office): Zachary Sharpe, Vanessa Atwood, and David Dings (also pseudonyms). Their main task was to help the pathologist during autopsies, but they also picked up bodies from hospitals and nursing homes. 0pt Pg ——— Normal Pag PgEnds: TEX [33], (33)              1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 police officers or forensic assistants who had moved up the hierarchy.

I began this research in May . Between May and September of that year, I conducted research intensively, visiting the medical examiner’s office several times a week. From September  until August , I conducted research about once a week. By the end of that time, I had observed about  autopsies. From August  until August , I spent time analyzing the data, visiting the office occasionally. Then I conducted more research in the summer of  but focused mostly on reviewing autopsy files.

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