Going to coroner’s court
Can be a nerve wracking experience, but awareness of protocol reduces anxiety
With its connotations of death in suspicious circumstances, mention of the coroner might inspire a shudder down the back for many people. For medical students, junior doctors, and their supervisors, this unfortunate situation could happen at some point during their careers.
Widespread media coverage follows when coroners’ investigations unearth deficiencies or errors in medical care that led to the death of a patient. The case of the doctor, Daniel Ubani, who unintentionally administered a lethal overdose of a painkiller to 70 year old David Gray, sticks in the memory nearly two years after the coroner’s verdict.1
As a senior pathologist, Sebastian Lucas, head of clinical histopathology at King’s College London Medical School, has given evidence at countless inquests over the years. Much of the fear and trepidation that surrounds coroner’s courts, he says, is “completely unnecessary.”
As with all the commentators in this article, Professor Lucas’s experience is with the