1.Circumstances of death that must be reported.
A medical examiner case may exist and must be reported as provided in section 3026
when remains are found that may be human and raise suspicion that death has occurred
under any of the following circumstances:
A. Death is suspected of having been caused by any type of physical injury, including
poisoning, regardless of whether the suspected manner of death is homicide, suicide
or accident. This circumstance must be reported irrespective of whether the deceased
had been attended by a physician, was a patient in a hospital, survived for a considerable
time following the physical injury or died from terminal natural causes consequent
to and following the physical injury; [2003, c. 433, §1 (AMD).]
B. Suddenly when the person is in apparent good health and has no specific natural
disease sufficient to explain death; [1985, c. 611, §6 (RPR).]
C. During diagnostic or therapeutic procedures under circumstances indicating gross
negligence or when clearly due to trauma or poisoning unrelated to the ordinary risks
of those procedures; [1985, c. 611, §6 (RPR).]
D. Death when the person is in custody pursuant to an arrest, confined in a state correctional
or detention facility, county jail, other county correctional or detention facility or local lockup or is on the way to or from a courthouse or any of these places while in the custody of a law enforcement officer or county or
state corrections official; [2011, c. 420, Pt. D, §2 (AMD); 2011, c. 420, Pt. D, §6 (AFF).]
E. Death while the person is a patient or resident of a facility of the Department
of Health and Human Services or residential care facility maintained or licensed by
the Department of Health and Human Services, unless clearly certifiable by an attending
physician as due to specific natural causes; [1985, c. 611, §6 (RPR); 1995, c. 560, Pt. K, §82 (AMD); 1995, c. 560, Pt. K, §83 (AFF); 2001, c. 354, §3 (AMD); 2003, c. 689, Pt. B, §6 (REV).]
F. Death suspected of being due to a threat to the public health when the authority
of the medical examiner is needed to adequately study the case for the protection
of the public health; [1985, c. 611, §6 (RPR).]
G. Death suspected of not having been certified, including, but not limited to, bodies
brought into the State and any buried remains uncovered other than by legal exhumation; [1985, c. 611, §6 (RPR).]
H. Deaths suspected of being medical examiner cases which may have been improperly
certified or inadequately examined, including, but not limited to, bodies brought
into the State under those circumstances; [1991, c. 339, §3 (AMD).]
I. Sudden infant death syndrome deaths and all other deaths of children under the age
of 18 unless clearly certifiable by an attending physician as due to specific natural
causes unrelated to abuse or neglect; [1985, c. 611, §6 (RPR).]
J. Whenever human or possibly human remains are discovered not properly interred or
disposed of, for which the responsibility to do so cannot be readily determined; or [1985, c. 611, §6 (RPR).]
K. Any cause when there is no attending physician capable of certifying the death as
due to natural causes. When a person dies who is under the care of a religious practitioner
who uses prayer and spiritual means of healing, the fact that the deceased has been
under such religious care does not warrant suspicion of foul play or investigation
beyond that warranted by the other facts of the case. [1985, c. 611, §6 (RPR).]
In any case in which the necessity of a report is questionable, a report must be made.
2011, c. 420, Pt. D, §2 (AMD);
2011, c. 420, Pt. D, §6 (AFF)
1-A.Medical examiner case determination.
Notwithstanding that a case must be reported under subsection 1, the acceptance
of any reported death as a medical examiner case is to be determined by the Chief
Medical Examiner unless acceptance is specifically ordered by the Attorney General
or district attorney having jurisdiction.
The following deaths that must be reported need not be accepted by the Chief Medical
Examiner as a medical examiner case:
A. Deaths due to the consequences of long-term alcohol use, long-term exposure to environmental
or occupational toxins or long-term exposure to carcinogens; [2003, c. 433, §4 (NEW).]
B. Deaths in the elderly who have sustained limb or axial fractures, excluding the
head, for which they are or have been hospitalized; or [2003, c. 433, §4 (NEW).]
C. Sudden natural deaths in the elderly who have not had previous specific symptoms
or who were not under treatment by a physician for the specific natural cause that
is considered to be the cause of death. [2003, c. 433, §4 (NEW).]
These reportable deaths may be referred back to the attending physician by the Chief
Medical Examiner for certification of the death, even though the attending physician
has not treated the patient for the specific natural disease that the attending physician
will enter as the physician's diagnosis.
2003, c. 433, §4 (NEW)
2.Attendance by physician.
2003, c. 433, §5 (RP)
No operation for the transplant of an organ or a portion of any organ may take place,
when the donor's death occurs under circumstances indicating a medical examiner case,
without approval of the medical examiner. Any doctor performing a transplant operation
when the donor has died under these circumstances shall note the condition of the
vital organs in the region of surgery and shall include this notation in a written
report of the operation and manner in which death was pronounced, with the report
to be given to the medical examiner upon his request. The medical examiner may choose
to be present during the removal of the donated organ.
1985, c. 611, §6 (RPR)
4.Questionable cases and cases that may constitute exceptions.
2003, c. 433, §6 (RP)
When a death has occurred that falls under this law as a medical examiner case and
the body has already been released for final disposition, the case may be accepted
and the body ordered held for examination by a medical examiner, but no exhumation
may take place when the body has been finally interred, except pursuant to section
1985, c. 611, §6 (NEW)
1967, c. 534, §2 (NEW).
1973, c. 567, §20 (AMD).
1979, c. 538, §5 (RPR).
1985, c. 611, §6 (RPR).
1987, c. 296, §3 (AMD).
1991, c. 339, §3 (AMD).
1995, c. 560, §K82 (AMD).
1995, c. 560, §K83 (AFF).
2001, c. 222, §§4-6 (AMD).
2001, c. 354, §3 (AMD).
2003, c. 433, §§3-6 (AMD).
2003, c. 689, §B6 (REV).
2011, c. 60, §1 (AMD).
2011, c. 420, Pt. D, §2 (AMD).
2011, c. 420, Pt. D, §6 (AFF).
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