medical examiner

GC: n

S: SDir – (last access: 6 February 2021); NCBI – (last access: 6 February 2021).

N: 1. – medical (adj): “pertaining or relating to the art or profession of healing or those who practice it,” 1640s, from French médical, from Late Latin medicalis “of a physician,” from Latin medicus “physician, surgeon, medical man” (n.); “healing, medicinal” (adj.), from medeor “to cure, heal,” originally “know the best course for,” from an early specialization of PIE root *med- “take appropriate measures” (source also of Avestan vi-mad- “physician”). “The meaning of medeor is based on a semantic shift from ‘measure’ to ‘distribute a cure, heal'” [de Vaan]. The earlier adjective in English in this sense was medicinal. Related: Medically.
– examiner (n): early 14c., examinour “one who questions (a witness),” agent noun from examine.
2. Medical examiner, any physician who is charged with the diligent investigation and rigorous examination of the body of a person who has died a sudden, unnatural, unexpected, unexplained, or suspicious death, including those that may have been precipitated by physical or chemical trauma. Serving within a delimited geographic jurisdiction and under legal guidelines, medical examiners are responsible for accurately determining the cause and manner of such deaths as well as aiding in making a positive identification of the body when the identity of the deceased is in question. The medical examiner’s findings may be used in court cases. Those findings when compiled are also valuable in determining trends in mortality.
3. Differences between coroners and medical examiners: The United States has not chosen a sole system of death investigation and examination; the coroner system exists side by side with the medical examiner system. Both originated in Europe, and both coroners and medical examiners are involved with legal inquiry.
In medieval England the “crowner” was a loyal knight of the realm appointed by the king to investigate untimely, suspicious, and unusual deaths. After the crowner made his determination, he reported his findings to the king. Being a political appointee, the crowner (later “coroner”) was not required to have any particular medical, forensic, or legal knowledge.
4. A medical doctor appointed by a province or territory to oversee or perform medico-legal death investigations in all individual cases of unnatural, unexpected, unexplained or unattended deaths in order to determine the identity of deceased victims as well as the date, place, cause and circumstances of death.
5. In Canada, a medical examiner must be a qualified physician.
6. The role of a medical examiner differs from that of the non-physician coroner in that the medical examiner is expected to bring medical expertise to the evaluation of the medical history and physical examination of the deceased.
7. medical examiner; ME: term, abbreviation and definition standardized by the Canadian Capability-Based Planning Terminology Committee and the Translation Bureau.
8. Responsibilities of a Medical Examiner vs. a Forensic Pathologist. When a death occurs and there is suspicion of violence or unnatural causes, an investigation begins with an autopsy. Depending on the system put in place by the state, a medical examiner may be required to issue the death certificate and then refer the case to a regional or state pathology lab if an autopsy is required. The job of the medical examiner is to determine whether additional forensic analysis is warranted. Some medical examiners are also forensic pathologists and may perform the autopsy to establish the cause of death themselves.

S: 1. OED – (last access: 6 February 2021). 2&3. EncBrit – (last access: 6 February 2021). 4 to 7. TERMIUM PLUS – (last access: 6 February 2021). 8. DB – (last access: 6 February 2021).


CR: crime, criminology, forensic medicine, forensics, forensic science, medicine.