Sterfgevallen die natuurlijk lijken

Klinische les
24-06-2020
Udo J.L. Reijnders

Dames en Heren,

Iedereen die overlijdt, moet geschouwd worden. De lijkschouwer – de forensisch arts, behandelend arts, diens waarnemer of de dienstdoende assistent – moet vaststellen of de overledene een natuurlijke dood is gestorven. Dat is soms lastig te beoordelen, zeker als de lijkschouw niet volledig wordt uitgevoerd. In deze klinische les komen drie voorbeelden van een ogenschijnlijk natuurlijke dood aan de orde. Hoe de schijn kan bedriegen.

Deaths that seem natural

Every dead body is examined by a doctor to establish the manner of death. In the Netherlands, however, both the quality of post-mortem examinations and the number of autopsies carried out in a clinical or forensic setting are low. Not all causes of death can be determined by post mortem examination alone; the law should, therefore, be changed to allow a forensic physician to legally request additional investigations, such as a toxicological or radiological report, to ensure the detection of crimes such as murder. Additional investigation could increase the quality of post-mortem examinations, and might bridge the quality gap between full autopsy and a simple post mortem. The information obtained could, for instance, be informative for relatives in the context of hereditary research. Finally, to improve the quality of post-mortem examination and identify all cases of murder, it is of the utmost importance that there is sufficient focus on post mortem examination of the cadaver during medical specialist training.

Conflict of interest and financial support: none declared.