The Value of Outsourcing Selected Cases in a Medical Examiner Population: A 10‐Year Experience
Due to increasing caseloads and inadequate staffing, the burden on Coroner/Medical Examiner Offices to comply with recommended autopsy limits for forensic pathologists (FPs) has been difficult. Since 2006, pathologists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have performed select autopsies for the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences. Each case was reviewed by a state FP and scene investigator to determine appropriateness for referral. All referred cases received full postmortem examination including microscopic examination and collection of toxicological samples, and toxicology was ordered by the referring FP as appropriate. The final cause and manner of death were determined by the referring state FP after review of all findings. A majority of the 421 cases were ruled accidental deaths (233), most due to drug toxicity. Of the 178 natural deaths, 118 were attributed to cardiovascular disease. Outsourcing select forensic cases can be educational and an effective tool to manage workflow without compromising quality.
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