JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.
In an interesting article on the coroner's office. Macht1 points out that since early times men have provided themselves with some form of legal machinery for inquiry to determine the causes and manner of deaths from unknown and unnatural causes. In most European countries to-day such investigations are directed by forensic officials who rely on medical and scientific experts in the service of the state. In order that the necessary expert work of this kind may be conducted to the best advantage, special medicolegal institutes have been established, the functions of which also include teaching and investigation. In most English-speaking countries the duty of making the necessary inquiry into deaths from all manner of unknown and unnatural causes devolves on the coroner, who appears early in the English scheme of government.
THE OFFICE OF CORONER. JAMA. 2013;309(20):2080. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.174849