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Coroners Career Video

Description: Direct activities such as autopsies, pathological and toxicological analyses, and inquests relating to the investigation of deaths occurring within a legal jurisdiction to determine cause of death or to fix responsibility for accidental, violent, or unexplained deaths.

Video Transcript

Coroners are medical detectives. They work with other investigators to that are accidental, violent, or unexplained. Coroners perform or supervise autopsies and highly specialized lab tests. When a coroner is also a physician, he or she is called a medical examiner. They may visit the scene of the death and confer with law enforcement and public health officials to gather information. It’s up to the coroner to determine or assign a cause of death, and issue a death certificate. A coroner is a public officer, and may be appointed or elected. The coroner may be called to testify in court, in some cases to convict a person of a crime, so they must be methodical and detail-oriented. Coroners’ work hours can be irregular and involve a great deal of careful documentation. Sometimes, coroners must speak with relatives of the deceased, which requires sensitivity and respect, and can be emotionally draining. Local laws define the specifics of each coroner's duties. A bachelor’s degree is a minimum requirement; majors vary from criminal justice to mortuary science to forensic pathology. A medical background is a plus. 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.