Korean J Leg Med.  2016 Nov;40(4):119-124. 10.7580/kjlm.2016.40.4.119.

Discrepancies in the Cause and Manner of Death Reported in Postmortem Inspection and Autopsy

  • 1Forensic Medicine Division, National Forensic Service Gwangju Institute, Gwangju, Korea. pdrdream@gmail.com
  • 2Medical Examiner's Office, National Forensic Service, Jangseong, Korea.


Currently in the Republic of Korea, most postmortem investigations occur within the context of a death scene investigation and are restricted to a postmortem inspection without a subsequent autopsy. In this study, we analyzed the discrepancies between the results of postmortem inspection and autopsy to investigate the limits of postmortem inspection. The conclusions about the cause and manner of death stated in the two reports were compared. A retrospective study was carried out on 6,126 autopsy cases performed in the Republic of Korea in 2015. Of these autopsy cases, 2,263 included postmortem inspection reports. The stated cause and manner of death conflicted with the autopsy report in 55.1% and 32.9% of the postmortem inspection reports, respectively. Among these conflicted reports, the cause and manner of death was undetermined in 66.6% and 70.3% of the postmortem inspection reports, respectively. Furthermore, different types of discrepancies were found between the causes and manner of death that were stated in the reports by police investigators and those by forensic pathologists. This study revealed that postmortem inspection is not sufficient in the postmortem investigation and forensic autopsies need to be performed.


Autopsy; Comparative study; Cause of death; Republic of Korea

MeSH Terms

Cause of Death
Republic of Korea
Research Personnel
Retrospective Studies

Cited by  1 articles

Statistical Analysis of Postmortem Inspection Cases of the National Forensic Service Seoul Institute in 2017
Young Man Lee, Minsung Choi, You-jin Won, Jong-pil Park, Cheol Ho Choi, Insoo Seo, Duk Hoon Kim, Seung-gyu Choi, Bonggu Kang, Nahyun Aum, Dong-yeong Kim, Seong Ho Kim, Yu-hoon Kim, Jeong-woo Park, Kyung-moo Yang, Young Shik Choi
Korean J Leg Med. 2019;43(2):64-70.    doi: 10.7580/kjlm.2019.43.2.64.


1.Jang JS., Jang SJ., Choi BH, et al. A statistical analysis of legal autopsies performed in Korea in 2014. Korean J Leg Med. 2015. 39:99–108.
2.Kim HG., Park JW., Cho WY, et al. The discrepancy of the cause and manner of death between death certificates and autopsy reports. Korean J Leg Med. 2014. 38:139–44.
3.Yang KM., Lee BW., Park JW, et al. The predictive ratios of intoxicated deaths by police's death scene investigation and doctor's death certificates in South Korea. Korean J Leg Med. 2016. 40:65–71.
4.Huh GY., Kim KH., Jo GR, et al. Differences in the determination of cause and manner of 127 natural death cases by postmortem inspection and autopsy. Korean J Leg Med. 2013. 37:9–13.
Full Text Links
  • KJLM
export Copy
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Similar articles
Copyright © 2024 by Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors. All rights reserved.     E-mail: koreamed@kamje.or.kr