Coroner vs. Medical Examiner vs. Forensic Pathologist

These terms can be confusing. A Coroner is an elected official and a Coroner works in those “Coroner states” as explained above. Each county in Colorado has their own elected Coroner and essentially their own death investigation system. A Coroner can essentially be anyone since to run for office one only has to be at least 18 years of age, not a felon and registered to vote in the county. However, the citizens of Mesa County should demand their Coroner at least bring some type of medical knowledge and experience to the position. A Medical Examiner is by definition a physician and in the “Medical Examiner states” in the US, a medical examiner is the one that oversees the death investigation system and the forensic pathologists in these states are often referred to as “Medical Examiners”. A Forensic Pathologist is a physician who after graduating medical school, enters and completes specialized training in general pathology and then completes a forensic pathology fellowship. It’s the forensic pathologist that performs the autopsies. In Colorado, if the Coroner is not a forensic pathologist, the Coroner must contract with a forensic pathologist to perform their autopsy examinations.