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A coroner is a public official who investigates deaths defined by law as being important to the public health and welfare. These typically include deaths thought to be from other than natural causes but also may include sudden and unexpected deaths determined later at autopsy to be from natural disease.
In general, coroners are elected and, depending on the local law, do not necessarily have to be medical doctors or other health professionals. But only medical doctors can perform autopsies.
Last Revised: August 17, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
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