To fully understand a cause of death and to be able to answer all potential questions, it is often necessary to review far more than the autopsy report and associated photographs.
A common request is assisting a client to understand if a person who died quite some time after sustaining an injury actually died as a consequence of that injury. In order to establish a clear, unbroken link between the injury and the death it is necessary to review all of the intervening events.
Many times this type of case requires a review of many weeks to months to years worth of documentation to establish such a link. Sometimes this information may not have been available to the original pathologist for various reasons and a full review of these records may not actually occur until charges have been filed.
Generally, our pathologist wishes to review the autopsy report and photographs, scene photographs, medical records, selected police reports, witness interviews (as appropriate; preferably audio/video recordings and transcripts), transcripts of appropriate sworn testimony (as appropriate) and toxicology reports at a minimum in the typical case. Obviously this list can be tailored to the individual case.