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February 9, 1952


Author Affiliations

From the Coroner's Office of Hamilton County, Ohio, and the Kettering Laboratory in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Industrial Health, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati.

JAMA. 1952;148(6):424-426. doi:10.1001/jama.1952.02930060006002

In the investigation of deaths that have occurred unexpectedly and without reliable witnesses, autopsies not infrequently disclose cases in which unsuspected injuries were the proximal cause of death, even though there were no evidences of injury on the surface of the victim's body. Furthermore, the bodies of persons known to have died of traumatic injuries often bear insignificant or no external signs resulting from the fatal violence. It is probable that each year many unexpected or sudden deaths not due to natural causes are ascribed to such causes by coroners or attending physicians. Complete investigations, including medicolegal autopsies, doubtless would prove that the greatest proportion of these improperly certified fatalities were caused by injuries resulting from blunt force. Included in this group would be some instances in which beneficiaries had been deprived of insurance benefits because the traumatic nature of the death had not been recognized. In addition, a significant

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