Reportable Cases

By law, the Medical Examiner must be notified of any death which occurs suddenly and unexpectedly while the victim is in apparent good health, or whenever there is a suspicion that the death may be unnatural. Also reportable are deaths which occur in the workplace, and possible cases of public health interest (e.g. suspected but undiagnosed tuberculosis, meningococcemia, anthrax, tuleremia, etc.).

The types of deaths to be reported to the Medical Examiner include:

  • All forms of suspected criminal violence, from an unlawful act, or from criminal neglect (e.g. starvation of an infant)
  • All accidents
  • All on-road or off-road motor vehicle fatalities
  • All suicides
  • All deaths in which there is a contribution from an overdose or toxic reaction to a drug (including cocaine-induced cardiovascular catastrophes)
  • All deaths suspicious for poisoning (e.g. carbon monoxide, industrial toxins, heavy metal poisoning, etc.)
  • Sudden death of a person in apparent good health
  • Deaths which occur unattended by a physician and where no physician can be found to certify the cause of death; in this context, “unattended by a physician” shall mean not visited or treated by a physician within the ten days immediately preceding death
  • Deaths which may constitute a threat to public health
  • Deaths due to disease, injury, or toxic agent resulting from employment
  • Deaths which occur in public hospitals and other institutions, including but not limited to, the county jail. This category also includes any person whose injury or terminal illness occurred or had onset in a public institution or while in detention in spite of an interval of treatment at another hospital prior to death
  • Deaths involving wards of the state residing in state facilities or state administered homes.
  • Any death occurring in police custody, or during an attempted arrest
  • Deaths which occur during diagnostic or therapeutic procedures or from complications of such procedures
  • When a fetus is born dead in the absence of a physician or midwife. Stillbirths in the hospital need not be reported to this office unless there is a history of maternal trauma or the case has some other unusual or suspicious circumstance. Neonatal deaths from prematurity and its complications must be reported if the premature delivery was caused by maternal trauma
  • When there is an intent to cremate or dispose of a dead body in any fashion other than interment in a cemetery
  • Dead bodies brought into the county without proper medical certification
  • Deaths which occur in any suspicious or unusual manner