Why perform an autopsy when the cause of death is obvious?
Answer - The importance of examining people for whom the cause of death appears obvious is severalfold. In the case of shootings or other fatal assaults the forensic pathologist, during the course of the examination, may recover bullets or other important trace evidence. In the case of motor vehicle occupants, it is important to determine who was driving and to assess driver factors, vehicle factors, or environmental factors that might have caused or contribute to the crash. Forensic autopsies may identify inherited diseases that constitute a risk for next of kin. Examples include certain types of heart disease and kidney disease. Notifying the family of their presence in the deceased would be an important service to the living.