The Coroner’s office is a Statutory Office, which is mandated to establish the cause and manner of death. The Cause of Death is the injury, disease, or combination of the two that was responsible for initiating the train of physiological disturbances (brief or prolonged), which produced the fatal termination. The Manner of Death refers to the circumstances in which the cause of death arose (suicide, natural causes, accident, and homicide). It is often a misconception that the responsibility for determining these vital questions lies with the law enforcement agency, however, this is the responsibility of the coroner.
Types of deaths that are reported to the Coroner
- No physician is in attendance.
- The attending physician is unable or unwilling to certify the cause of death.
- The attending physician has not been in actual attendance within 30 days prior to death.
- All cases in which trauma may be associated with the death, such as traffic accidents, gunshots, falls, etc. This includes inpatients who have sustained fractures any time in the past.
- Deaths by poisoning, suspected poisoning, chemical or bacteria, industrial hazardous material or radiation.
- All industrial accidents.
- Known or suspected suicides.
- Deaths due to contagious disease.
- Deaths due to self- induced or unexplained abortion.
- Operating room deaths and deaths that occur during a medical procedure.
- All unexplained deaths (deaths that occur in a healthy individual).
- Deaths that occur within 24 hours of admission to a hospital or nursing care facility.
- Deaths in a custody of law enforcement.
- Deaths of persons in the care of a public institution.
The County Coroner is an elected official with a four-year term. The Coroner has the responsibility of investigating sudden, unusual and traumatic deaths. It is also the responsibility of the Coroner to ensure the body is examined, identified, and if necessary, autopsied. In cases of unnatural or questionable death, the Coroner summons a jury and conducts an inquest to determine the manner of death.