This year is the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment by the state of Massachusetts of the medical examiner system to replace the coroner system. During this period the manifest common sense of the plan, and its successful solution of problems dealing with the violent deaths of human beings, have led to the adoption of the system by all but one of the New England states and by the state of New York. Interest in the system has led to inquiries about it from so large a number of the remaining states that a review of the conditions leading to its foundation, and of the practical outcome of its functioning during this half century, is here presented.
THE CORONER SYSTEM
The coroner is of purely English derivation, and the system was inherited by us from our Anglo-Saxon forebears. "The office of Coroner is of so great Antiquity, saith the well read