CNNMoney’s Jeff Bercovici breaks down how medical examiners are supposed to score an autopsy report.
The coroner will usually provide a preliminary report based on preliminary examination of the body and will often provide a final report, which will typically contain more information about the deceased person.
If there are discrepancies in the two reports, the medical examiner will then request a formal autopsy report from the coroner, which is supposed to provide a more complete analysis of the deceased.
The official autopsy is supposed.
In order for the coroner to submit a final autopsy report, the coroner must first have reviewed the preliminary report.
The coroner must then complete a written report that includes the preliminary examination report and other supporting documentation.
If the coroner determines that the preliminary investigation indicates that the deceased was killed by a firearm, the official coroner’s report is supposed and can be compared to the coroner’s final report.
If the coroner finds that the death was a homicide, the autopsy report is also supposed to be compared.
If they find that there is a discrepancy in the preliminary and final reports, then the autopsy reports are supposed not to be the same.
This is a process known as a “whole report” and is done in accordance with state and federal law.
In a 2013 article on the issue, CNNMoney columnist Jim Geraghty explained that the process is very similar to the way a police report is done.
“The preliminary report is a summary of the autopsy and is supposed in most states to be a summary, not a full report,” he wrote.
“If the preliminary reports indicate that the coroner found that the cause of death was homicide, that’s a good thing.
But if they do not, then there is no way to know what caused the death.
It is the final report that will give us the most definitive answer to whether the coroner was right.”
The coroner’s office did not respond to CNNMoney.
CNNMoney’s Robyn Urback contributed to this report.