This video covers presentations by Dr. Peter Dean - coroner for Suffolk and Southeast Essex and forensic medical examiner for the Metropolitan Police in London - and by Dr. Michael Baden - co- director of the New York State Police Medicolegal Investigation Unit - in which they review features of forensic pathology and particular cases in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Dr. Dean reviews the history of the training and functions of coroners in England from the medieval period to the present. He addresses more contemporary issues raised about the coroner system in England as a result of the murder case of Dr. Shipman. It is estimated that he murdered as many as 250 of his patients by morphine injections. As the treating physician, he signed the death certificates, attributing the deaths to natural causes. This led to efforts to reform the coroner system to take into account that an attending physician may have intentionally caused a patient's death. Dr. Baden's presentation focuses on medical issues involved in the investigation of cause and manner of death in well-publicized cases in the United States. Issues addressed include the nature and cause of brain injury in the Terri Schiavo case, in which possible blunt force trauma was the issue; the condition of the body and findings from the examination of the exhumed body of civil rights leader Medgar Evers; and the autopsy of Pope John Paul II. Dr. Baden also discusses the benefits of hair analysis in toxicology examinations and how preserved body tissue can be used in the identification of deceased persons.