Medical Examiners Notification
Upon a patient’s death, the Report of Death Checklist should be completed. The form itself has very simple and direct questions, each of which must be answered by nursing (right column), or by the physician (left column). The indications for reporting deaths to the Medical Examiner (ME), are printed on the back of the form, along with the reporting procedure, the ME’s procedure and the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Act 13 reportable events. In all cases, the Intern, Resident or Attending, should ask permission to do an autopsy. In cases that meet the ME’s reporting criteria, the family should be informed both of the fact the Medical Examiner will be called and what the ME’s ultimate decision is. In many cases, families would not expect the ME to be involved where patients are on hospice or where the trauma is remote, or the death is many years later than the trauma from seemingly unrelated causes.
Any death which could be related, either recently or remotely, to a toxic or traumatic cause, or which is related to a procedure should be reported to the ME. The ME has staff to assist you. Reporting a case to the ME’s office doesn’t mean it will be accepted by the ME. It is better for the ME to get ten calls and accept one case than to not receive a call or receive a call from the funeral home after the body is already embalmed. Toxicology tests cannot be done once the body is embalmed. If an autopsy is warranted, the ME and his staff are subjected to the carcinogens in the embalming fluids.
January, 2011. (81), Crozer Keystone Health System
Medical Examiners Notification Questions
Medical Examiners Notification February 2011 Questions
Medical Examiners Notification Answers
Medical Examiner Notification February 2011 Answers