The Obstetrician/Gynaecologist in Coroner’s Court
The English coroner is required to investigate deaths when they are informed that death may be due to unknown or unnatural causes and in some other circumstances where the deceased is deprived of their liberty by the state. Lack of proper care or a mishap in treatment may convert what appears to be a natural death, from the medical perspective, to an unnatural death requiring coronial investigation. At present, the coroner does not investigate stillbirths, although this is under review. There may be an investigation to determine whether or not a deceased infant showed any sign of life after complete expulsion from the mother’s body. The coroner investigates maternal deaths following abortion. If a non-viable foetus shows any sign of life after a therapeutic termination of pregnancy then this will require a coronial investigation.
KeywordsCoroner England and Wales Judicial investigation Unnatural death Death of unknown cause Still-birth Abortion
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