King: Pathologists do not have final say

King: Pathologists do not have final say

Consultant Pathologist, Doctor Stephen King, has asserted that Pathologists do not have the final say in relation to the cause of death.

King was speaking in the context of speculation that Bianca Felix, in whose death the Police had ruled out foul play, may have been murdered.

Felix, 24, was found hanging in a house at Trouya last week.

King told the Times in an exclusive interview that he was not actively involved in the investigation.

However he explained that Pathologists will go to a scene and put the findings on the body into context.

The former Chief Medical Officer told the Times that this would include where the death occurred or where the body was found.

He said the evidence is then taken to a Forensic Scientist or other forensic expert to examine.

“We do not have the final say in terms of whether the death is by accident, by homicide or by other causes, since we merely document the findings,” King observed.

He told the Times that the Police and the Coroner in particular are also involved.

“The Coroner will put all the findings together from the Police, from the Pathologist, from whatever other sources of information the Coroner may have and will make a determination,” King noted.

He added that the Coroner gives the warrant for burial, based on the information that is obtained.

King said the Coroner may decide that there is insufficient information and could decide to go to an inquest to further explore the circumstances surrounding a death.

He disclosed that in such a situation, the Pathologist would appear in the Coroner’s court to give evidence.

“The Police investigation may indicate a homicide and there is someone to be charged, in which case the Police would take the file to the DPP and then a determination would be made,” King told the Times.

“The Pathologist is merely one person in the process and does not have the final say,” the former Chief Medical Officer stated, adding that he understood on an emotional level, the grief of families who have lost a loved one in death.

He explained that that if the Police or the DPP have new evidence to indicate that the manner of death was not what they first dteermined, they would reopen an investigation.

King asserted  in relation to pathologists and others involved in the process, that to err is human.

As a result he declared that he would never say that any human system anywhere is flawless, far less in Saint Lucia.

Nevertheless he asserted that all involved do their very best to ensure that they do not miss anything.

“I have been in this business long enough and I have missed enough in my own time to understand that it is not always easy to be 100  percent accurate and on the ball and have it right every time,” King declared.


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