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A medical examiner
is a medically qualified government officer whose duty is to investigate deaths and injuries that occur under unusual or suspicious circumstances, to perform post-mortem examinations, and in some jurisdictions to initiate inquests.
In some jurisdictions with English origins or history, a coroner
A coroner is a government official who* Investigates human deaths* Determines cause of death* Issues death certificates* Maintains death records* Responds to deaths in mass disasters* Identifies unknown dead* Other functions depending on local laws...
performs these and other duties. Within the United States, there is a mixture of coroner and medical examiner systems, and in some states, dual systems. The meaning of these terms, duties, and requirements to hold office vary widely between jurisdictions.
Qualifications for medical examiners in the U.S. vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In Wisconsin, for example, some counties do not require individuals to have any special educational or medical training to hold this office. In most jurisdictions, a medical examiner is required to have a medical degree, although in many this need not be in pathology. Other jurisdictions have stricter requirements, including additional education in pathology, law, and forensic pathology
Forensic pathology is a branch of pathology concerned with determining the cause of death by examination of a corpse. The autopsy is performed by the pathologist at the request of a coroner or medical examiner usually during the investigation of criminal law cases and civil law cases in some...
. Medical examiners are typically appointed officers. They are typically medical officers that perform autopsy procedures on the human body after life.