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November 10, 1900


JAMA. 1900;XXXV(19):1220. doi:10.1001/jama.1900.02460450036008

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The recent carelessness of coroner's officials in Chicago in a widely exploited case of fraud against insurance companies has directed attention again to this "relic of barbarism," the coroner's office. It is being urged strongly that the office be abolished and the work the coroner now pretends to do turned over to the police and the health department. There is no question as to the antiquated and unsatisfactory nature of the inquiries carried on by the coroner's office. The jury system is abused and prostituted, and the entire affairs of the office, both medical and administrative, are handed over completely into the hands of politicians without a trace of training or expertness in medicolegal matters. It is no wonder that justice miscarries under these circumstances; that people have no confidence in the coroner's verdicts, and that stories are afloat of extortion carried on across the bodies of the dead. But

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