Treatment of the complications of the injured patient is frequently more important than the injury itself. Such complications as shock, traumatic wet lung, atelectases, etc., are a direct result of the injury. Patients may suffer obvious severe trauma, only to die of the unrecognized and untreated complication. Postmortem examinations establish the nature, extent and effect of trauma-i.e., causation, from the lawyer's as well as the physician's point of view.In all cases of death following traumatic accident, the lawyer should investigate the unapparent as well as the obvious injuries; ordinarily by use of autopsy. In a surprising number of cases inadequate medical treatment is found to be a contributing cause, or the proximate cause, of the death.
Earl B. Sanborn, A Study of Fatal Trauma, 7 Clev.-Marshall L. Rev. 418 (1958)