Research Article| Volume 18, ISSUE 1, P139-150, March 1998

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Actions for Damages Against Medical Examiners and the Defense of Sovereign Immunity

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      The doctrine of sovereign or official immunity has protected medical examiners in cases alleging negligent performance of the autopsy and in cases involving negligent harvesting of organs. It has not protected examiners in cases alleging performance of autopsy without authorization. The medical examiner, therefore, is well advised to determine whether there may be any objection by the next-of-kin to an autopsy and particularly any religious objection-and if there is such an objection, to proceed only after making contemporaneous and documented decision that there is a compelling need for the autopsy.
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