Will medical examiners enhance death certification and investigation?

Vaughan, C.A., 2019. Will medical examiners enhance death certification and investigation? DLegal, Nottingham Trent University.

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Abstract

The Coroners and Justice Act 2009 provides the legislative framework for national implementation of Medical Examiners – which is still awaited. However, pilot sites were introduced in 2009 providing a tier of scrutiny to Medical Certificates of Cause of Death that has not been previously available.

This qualitative study explores the phenomenon of death certification and investigation and how the weaknesses within the current system affect the accuracy of causes of death. It explores whether the introduction of Medical Examiners will address the concerns that arose post Dr Harold Shipman, that an individual doctor could be a mass murderer and be undetected.

Methodology: Phenomenography is the chosen methodology, exploring the second order perspective of how and why decisions are made.

Methods: to collect the data required case studies were used and disseminated using a survey link to participant groups purposely chosen for their role in death certification and investigation – Coroners, Registered Medical Practitioners and Medical Examiners. Thematic analysis of responses uncovers not only the decisions made but also what influences those decisions. Thus, how the quality of death certification and investigation is influenced by each of these individuals.

Results: The qualitative data demonstrates that the introduction of Medical Examiners will not, on its own, enhance the current system of death certification and investigation.

Therefore, this study recommends that law and policy makers consider reforms to medical education, the selection process for Medical Examiners and the use of artificial intelligence.

Both undergraduate and post graduate medical education needs to include coronial law, death certification and investigation as core components. This is particularly important as Medical Examiners will become a medical speciality, thus requiring the same educational considerations as other medical specialities.

Other recommendations include a robust selection process for all Registered Medical Practitioners wishing to specialise as Medical examiners, with psychometric testing fully considered as part of this process.

A more long-term recommendation, which also reflects the ever-increasing move towards technology, is the use of artificial intelligence to identify an unnatural death.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Vaughan, C.A.
Date: September 2019
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within the document should be fully referenced quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required should be directed in the owner(s) of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Law School
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 16 Feb 2021 11:53
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 11:53
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/42312

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