Results are out! Find what you need...fast. Get quick advice or join the chat
Hey there Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

does everyone have a post mortem?

Announcements Posted on
    • Thread Starter
    • 4 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    After watching programmes like silent witness, I wondered, does everyone whose body is in a state to be examined ie not blown to shreds, have a post mortem?

    Even if they were terminally ill or had a limb sliced off, so that it's obvious what they died of and wasn't murder?

    Obviously every body that the police randomly find and they don't have any witnesses to the death of, they need to, to investigate it.

    But if it definately wasn't murder and it was obvious what they died from and when, what's the point?
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    Nope

    http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Post-mo...roduction.aspx
    • Thread Starter
    • 4 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    Thanks, I was just curious and thought it must be a waste of time and money to do them on every body.
    • 15 followers
    Online

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Clare~Bear)
    After watching programmes like silent witness, I wondered, does everyone whose body is in a state to be examined ie not blown to shreds, have a post mortem?

    Even if they were terminally ill or had a limb sliced off, so that it's obvious what they died of?

    Obviously every body that the police randomly find and they don't have any witnesses to the death of, they need to, to investigate it.

    But if it definately wasn't murder and it was obvious what they died from and when, what's the point?
    As the poster above said, a post mortem is not needed in every case and can be ordered in two ways: by a coroner or requested by a hospital.

    Where a death occurs outside of a hospital, a post mortem will usually be requested if the death was unexpected (otherwise healthy person drops dead) or where their is reason to believe some foul play. Even if it is clear why the person died (e.g. they are found submerged in a bath or in the kitchen with their wrists slashed) a post mortem may still be ordered to rule out any possibility of foul play.
    • 1 follower
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    No, very few people have a post mortem these days.
    • 5 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Clare~Bear)
    After watching programmes like silent witness, I wondered, does everyone whose body is in a state to be examined ie not blown to shreds, have a post mortem?

    Even if they were terminally ill or had a limb sliced off, so that it's obvious what they died of and wasn't murder?

    Obviously every body that the police randomly find and they don't have any witnesses to the death of, they need to, to investigate it.

    But if it definately wasn't murder and it was obvious what they died from and when, what's the point?
    After watching the last 3 episodes (well 6 as they are 2 parters) can I point out that pathologists in relaity don't kill themselves that frequently.

    Leo and his kiss of death ey?
    • 7 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    A post mortem is ordered by the coroner wherever a doctor cannot confidently sign the death certificate giving a cause of death. The pathologist investigates and then if they find the cause they can complete the certificate.

    A lot of people will have a PM done. Most are older people who for whatever reason have been found dead at home/ "dropped dead". The death isn't suspicious but a PM has to be done so that their death certificate can be completed. I guess also people who have died at the scene of accidents.

    You won't have a PM if you are known to be suffering from a potentially fatal condition, have recent enough contact with doctors who can confidently say what killed you and can put it on the death certificate.

    EDIT: Making sure people aren't being murdered is only a small part of the reason why everyone needs a death certificate giving the cause of their death. This information is used to generate health statistics. Which are important for everything from "hey this new plague is killing loads of people, how about we do something about it?" to "what is most likely to kill this or that group of people, can we prevent it?" to "huh, less smoking means less deaths by lung cancer" to "how much money should be spent on this condition?"
    • 2 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    No; I believe you only have a post-morterm if the coroner is suspicious of the cause of death.
    • Thread Starter
    • 4 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    What about if; you are terminally ill and given say 12-18 months but you die 2 or 3 months later ? Or would it depends on the circumstances wheatehr it could be deemed suspicious or they think it could be something else that killed you?
    • 37 followers
    Online

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Clare~Bear)
    What about if; you are terminally ill and given say 12-18 months but you die 2 or 3 months later ? Or would it depends on the circumstances wheatehr it could be deemed suspicious or they think it could be something else that killed you?
    It all depends on the circumstances of the death. If that person you described were found suddenly dead at home, they may get a PM as there's no obvious cause of death. If they were admitted to hospital with e.g. pneumonia and deteriorated and died, then they wouldn't. Not many people who die in hospital actually have a PM - they may get discussed with the coroner but the coroner may in some situations be happy to issue a certificate without a formal PM once they've heard the story.

    It's also worth saying that predictions on how long someone has to live are notoriously inaccurate. And that in some circumstances you've described (e.g. having a limb sliced off) a PM may well still be done as even though the cause of death is obvious, investigation needs to be done as to whether there is a criminal/civil case to be created.
    • 2 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    Could you request not to have one, even if the death was suspicious? Obviously, this would have to be in a will or something, but would they grant that wish?
    • 37 followers
    Online

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Formerly Helpful_C)
    Could you request not to have one, even if the death was suspicious? Obviously, this would have to be in a will or something, but would they grant that wish?
    No. If the coroner orders a post-mortem, it has to be done.

    However, sometimes hospitals request post-mortems which aren't ordered by the coroner, for a variety of reasons. These ones do require written consent from the next of kin and can be refused, but a coroner's PM cannot.
    • 2 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Helenia)
    No. If the coroner orders a post-mortem, it has to be done.

    However, sometimes hospitals request post-mortems which aren't ordered by the coroner, for a variety of reasons. These ones do require written consent from the next of kin and can be refused, but a coroner's PM cannot.
    Why? I don't care how I died - I'm dead. I doubt the cause of death will be of any consolation to my family - I'm dead.
    • 37 followers
    Online

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Formerly Helpful_C)
    Why? I don't care how I died - I'm dead. I doubt the cause of death will be of any consolation to my family - I'm dead.
    So if you were murdered they wouldn't care if they never knew for sure if you were murdered, or if no attempt was made to catch your killer? Or if you died as a result of an industrial accident they wouldn't care if the company weren't investigated about it and were left to allow other workers to die in similar accidents? Or if you died of some weird and wonderful genetic disease they wouldn't care about possibly finding out if they had it too?

    And that's before we get into the realms of medical negligence etc...

    PMs are not just to determine the medical cause of death (heart attack, pneumonia, head chopped off etc) but also its nature - whether natural, suicide, homicide etc. Both elements are important.
    • 5 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Formerly Helpful_C)
    Could you request not to have one, even if the death was suspicious? Obviously, this would have to be in a will or something, but would they grant that wish?
    The will won't normally be read until a few weeks to a couple of months after the death, in any event. Too long for a post mortem. Same reason you don't put things like "I want to donate my organs" in your will - by the time they get round to reading the will it'll be far too late to action.
    • 2 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Vohamanah)
    The will won't normally be read until a few weeks to a couple of months after the death, in any event. Too long for a post mortem. Same reason you don't put things like "I want to donate my organs" in your will - by the time they get round to reading the will it'll be far too late to action.
    I wasn't being serious about the will - I just wanted to give an example of a legal document expressing my wishes at the time of passing.

    Thank you, though.

Reply

Submit reply

Register

Thanks for posting! You just need to create an account in order to submit the post
  1. this can't be left blank
    that username has been taken, please choose another Forgotten your password?
  2. this can't be left blank
    this email is already registered. Forgotten your password?
  3. this can't be left blank

    6 characters or longer with both numbers and letters is safer

  4. this can't be left empty
    your full birthday is required
  1. By joining you agree to our Ts and Cs, privacy policy and site rules

  2. Slide to join now Processing…

Updated: April 22, 2012
New on TSR

Find out what year 11 is like

Going into year 11? Students who did it last year share what to expect.

Article updates
Reputation gems:
You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.