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Media Alert: Questions Remain in Michael Jackson Autopsy - College of American Pathologists Has Forensic Pathologist Available to Answer Reporter Questions

What can an autopsy tell you? A pathologist's role is critical in diagnosing cause of death

(Vocus) June 29, 2009 --

WHAT: New questions surround singer Michael Jackson's death.

In cases of sudden, unexpected death, a forensic pathologist, often working in a Medical Examiner's Office, will perform an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death. The pathologist's detailed external and internal examination will document diseases which could have contributed to death. These findings are then correlated with the clinical scenario, radiographic studies, toxicological results, and microscopic analysis to reach a final determination.

In an autopsy when a pathologist examines a body, they ask questions:

  • Why did the heart stop and why isn't cardiac arrest a "cause of death"?
  • What likely caused the death based on the findings?
  • Was a dangerous mix of prescription drugs found?
  • Were there other factors involved?
  • What can an autopsy tell you?
  • What would you expect to find with a second autopsy?
  • Why is the final cause of death not known until after toxicology results are available? What are toxicology results? How long do they take? Why so long?

The answers to these questions will help to determine the patient's cause and manner of death. By recognizing and reporting these findings, the pathologist can play an important role in preventing similar deaths.

WHO: Stephen J. Cina, MD, FCAP, Deputy Chief Medical Examiner of the Broward County Medical Examiner's Office in Ft. Lauderdale, FL can offer the forensic pathologist's perspective. He has appeared as a forensic expert on national television programs and in the New York Times interviewed on forensic topics. He has performed over 3000 autopsies.

WHY: Dr. Cina is a forensic pathologist, a physician who applies the principles of pathology and medicine in general to determine the cause and manner of death. He is available to explain how a forensic pathologist correlates anatomic findings with clinical symptoms, the investigation, additional studies, and arrives at the cause of death following an autopsy. In addition, Dr. Cina is Chair of the College of American Pathologists' Forensic Pathology Committee. He has over 100 publications including the only know Guidelines for the Approach to High-Profile Death Investigation; he also lectures nationally on this topic. He is available to educate the public about preventing similar causes of death.

The College of American Pathologists is a medical society that serves more than 17,000 physician members and the laboratory community throughout the world. It is the world's largest association composed exclusively of pathologists and is widely considered the leader in laboratory quality assurance. The College is an advocate for high-quality and cost-effective medical care.

Carolyn Barth
800-323-4040 ext. 7185


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Source: PRWeb
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