Cause of Death: ′Whatever′ | World| Breakings news and perspectives from around the globe | DW | 09.01.2004
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Cause of Death: 'Whatever'

In Germany every year, about 1,200 deadly crimes go unnoticed, a forensic medical expert said on Thursday at a German physicians' association conference, according the Associated Press. This is due to serious shortcomings in coroners' investigations, forensic pathologist Burkhard Madea said. "The frequency of incorrectly diagnosed causes of death on the death certificate is between 20 and 50 percent," he said. Next to negligence by physicians, experts say the problem is caused by a lack of unifying regulations and strong pressure from the justice system. Several doctors admitted at the conference that, when in doubt, they were pressured by prosecutors and policemen to attribute a death to natural causes.