ISBN-10:
0674034538
ISBN-13:
9780674034532
Pub. Date:
10/30/2009
Publisher:
Harvard
Death Investigation in America: Coroners, Medical Examiners, and the Pursuit of Medical Certainty

Death Investigation in America: Coroners, Medical Examiners, and the Pursuit of Medical Certainty

by Jeffrey M. JentzenJeffrey M. Jentzen
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Overview

A death occurs at home, in a hospital, on a street: why? As Jeffrey Jentzen reveals, we often never know. Why is the American system of death investigation so inconsistent and inadequate? What can the events of the assassination of President Kennedy, killing of Bobby Kennedy, and Chappaquiddick reveal about the state of death investigation?

If communities in early America had a coroner at all, he was politically appointed and poorly trained. As medicine became more sophisticated and the medical profession more confident, physicians struggled to establish a professionalized, physician-led system of death investigation. The conflict between them and the coroners, as well as politicians and law enforcement agencies, led to the patchwork of local laws and practices that persist to this day.

In this unique political and cultural history, Jentzen draws on archives, interviews, and his own career as a medical examiner to look at the way that a long-standing professional and political rivalry controls public medical knowledge and public health.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674034532
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 10/30/2009
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 300
Sales rank: 1,152,385
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Jeffrey M. Jentzen, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Forensic Pathology and Director of Autopsy and Forensic Services at the University of Michigan Medical School, and former Medical Examiner in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

  1. Good and Lawful Men
  2. Rockefeller Philanthropy and the Harvard Dream
  3. A Model Law
  4. Creating an Identity
  5. In Search of Authority
  6. Autonomy Challenged
  7. Beyond Vital Statistics
  8. The Road to Demedicalization
  9. The Popularization of Forensic Pathology
  10. In Search of Reasonable Medical Certainty

  • Epilogue
  • Notes
  • Select Bibliography
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index

What People are Saying About This

"Jentzen's book stands alone and defines a field. It is full of ironic twists and the grim comedy of the often bizarre stories of famous death investigations in the past. Jentzen has an eye for the right anecdote to illustrate a large idea, and has found wonderful quotations to drive home his points. The United States deserves a better system of death investigation; Jentzen helps us understand why we never got one."

James Mohr

Jentzen's book stands alone and defines a field. It is full of ironic twists and the grim comedy of the often bizarre stories of famous death investigations in the past. Jentzen has an eye for the right anecdote to illustrate a large idea, and has found wonderful quotations to drive home his points. The United States deserves a better system of death investigation; Jentzen helps us understand why we never got one.
James Mohr, University of Oregon

Customer Reviews