Basis for an investigation of the cause of death
The basis for an investigation of the cause of death is the information on the death certificate. The basis in law for an investigation of the cause of death is the Act on the Investigation of the Cause of Death (1973/459)
Forensic autopsy is most often performed if death has occurred in such circumstances that police investigation is necessary in order to establish the cause of death. A forensic autopsy is performed at the request of police.
A police investigation will be conducted in following situations:
- If the deceased was not under a doctor's care during his/her latest illness, or
- If the death was caused by a crime, accident, suicide, poisoning, occupational disease or medical treatment or there is cause to suspect that the death was caused by such a reason, or
- If the death otherwise occurred unexpectedly.
A medical autopsy can be performed:
- If the cause of death cannot be established from information on the deceased person during his/her lifetime and information related to the event of his/her death, and the deceased person was in the care of a doctor during his/her latest illness, and if an autopsy is necessary in the interest of public health and medical science,
- The next of kin or otherwise close person of the deceased requests it.
Thus, a medical autopsy is performed at the request of a physician or relatives of the deceased.
Other basis for investigating the cause of death:
The commonest other basis for an investigation of the cause of death is a clinical examination of the deceased and information on his/her latest illness or medical treatment.
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