In 1877 Massachusetts abolished the office of coroner and replaced it with the office of medical examiner. The law authorized two full time, salaried medical examiners for Suffolk County, in which Boston is situated, and in each of the other counties as many part time examiners on a fee basis as the county commissioners might deem necessary. In such counties the number varies from one to eleven. The office is appointive, the term of service being seven years. Repeated reappointment of the medical examiners of Boston has resulted in a high type of medicolegal investigation not approached in any coroner jurisdiction. The success of the new system in Boston led to its adoption in New York City in 1918 and in Essex County (Newark), N. J., in 1927. In each of these urban centers the superiority of the medical examiner system has been amply demonstrated.
In sparsely settled rural counties