View Full Version : forensic science department questions

12-06-2011, 12:58 PM
what do you call the head of a forensic science department
and wold the forensic department of the police handle autopsies
the story is set in the united states

12-06-2011, 04:19 PM
Which country is your story set in?

12-06-2011, 05:14 PM
Yes, the location is necessary.

12-06-2011, 05:24 PM
In New Hampshire, it's 'Director.'

Autopsies are handled by the medical examiner, who is a certified medical doctor, who has specialized in autopsies and forensic medicine. (Note that this was not always the case. Further note that signing a death certificate can be done by any medical doctor.) The medical examiner can be very different from the coroner. The medical examiner is going to be affiliated with a hospital and have his/her offices and facilities there.

The medical examiner is not responsible to the police department and is independent from the police. The reason is because the medical examiner should form an unbiased cause of death and not be easily pressured into certain results. (This doesn't always work out in practice.)

Samples from the autopsy may be sent to the state lab for further examination, especially for poisons and other toxins. Other samples can be sent to labs that specialize in the testing.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

12-07-2011, 02:00 PM
You probably also need to declare which state you are writing in... I think there are differences...

Much of the forensic science work here in the UK is actually contracted to the private sector with a number of private companies hired on a case by case basis to supply the forensic testing. In that case, I beleive that they follow the traditional private corporation structure.