I. TYPES OF DEATHS TO REPORT TO THE CORONER’S OFFICE

Accidental Deaths

All forms including death arising from employment

Asphyxiation by gagging on foreign substance, including food in the airway; compression of the airway or chest by hand, material, or litigation; drowning; handling cyanide; exclusion of oxygen; carbon monoxide; and/or other gasses causing suffocation.

Blows or other forms of mechanical violence.

Burns from fire, liquid, chemical, radiation or electricity.

Carbon monoxide poisoning. (Resulting from natural gas, automobile exhaust or other.)

Cuttings, stabbings or gunshot wounds.

Death from electrocution.

Drowning (actual or suspected).

Drug overdose from medication, chemical or poison ingestion, whether it is actual or suspected. This includes any medical substance, narcotic or alcoholic beverage, whether sudden, short or long term survival has occurred.

Electrical shock.

Explosion.

Falls, including hip fractures or other injuries.

Firearm injuries.

Stillborn or newborn infant death where there is a recent or post traumatic event involving the mother, such as vehicular accident, homicide, suicide attempt, or drug ingestion that may have precipitated delivery or had a detrimental effect to the newborn.

Vehicular accidents, including auto, bus, train, motorcycle, bicycle, watercraft, snowmobile or aircraft, including driver, passenger or related non-passenger, such as being struck by parts flying or thrown from a vehicle.

Weather related death including lightning, heat exhaustion, hypothermia or tornado.

Homicidal Deaths

By any means, suspected or known.

Suicidal Deaths

By any means, suspected or known.

Occupational Deaths

Instances in which the environment of present or past employment may have caused or contributed to death by trauma or disease.

Deaths in this classification include caisson disease (bends), industrial infections, pneumoconiosis, present or past exposure to toxic or product (including nuclear products, asbestos or coal dust), fractures, burns or any other injury received during employment or as a result of past employment, which may have contributed to death.

Sudden Deaths

If the death occurs when in apparent health or in any suspicious or unusual manner including:

DOA – Any person pronounced dead on arrival at any hospital, emergency room of a hospital or doctor’s office shall be reported.

Infants and young children – Any infant or young child found dead shall be reported, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (S.I.D.S. or Crib Death).

All stillborn infants where there is suspected or actual injury to the mother.

All deaths occurring within 24 hours of admission to a hospital, unless the patient has been under the continuous care of a physician.

Deaths occurring while in any jail, confinement or custody.

Deaths under unknown circumstances whenever there are no witnesses or where little or no information can be elicited concerning the deceased person.

Sudden death on the street, at home, in a public place, or at place of employment.

Alcoholism.

Drug abuse, habitual use of drugs or drug addiction.

Special Circumstances

Any death involving allegations of suspicious medical malpractice or possibly poor medical/surgical care.

Any maternal or infant death where there is suspicious or illegal interference by unethical or unqualified persons or self-induction.

"Delayed death" which is an unusual type of case where the immediate cause of death may actually be from natural disease. However, injury may have occurred days, weeks, months or even years before death and is responsible for initiating the sequence of medical conditions or events leading to death. This would be considered a Coroner’s case and is therefore reportable. The most common examples of this type of case are past traffic accidents with debilitating injury and long-term care in a nursing home, and hip fractures of the elderly where there is a downward course of condition after the injury.

Medical apparatus such as endotracheal tubes, airways, monitor pads, CVP-IV lines, pacemakers including leads, drain tubes, catheters or similar equipment must be retained in their original positions on the body. All intravenous fluids and substances (including blood) being given to the patient at the time of or just prior to death, must likewise, accompany the body.

 

 

 

Therapeutic Deaths

Death occurring under the influence of anesthesia, during the anesthetic induction, during the post-anesthetic period without the patient regaining consciousness, and including death following long term survival if the original incident is thought to be related to the surgical procedure and/or anesthetic agent.

 

Death during or following any diagnostic or therapeutic procedure whether medical or survival time if death is thought to be directly related to the procedure or complications from said procedure.

Any Death Where There is a Doubt, Question or Suspicion

Not all reported cases fall into the previously mentioned categories. After the investigation is completed, many will be returned to the jurisdiction or institution where the death certificate will be signed by the attending physician as a natural death.

Only the Coroner can legally sign a death certificate of a person who has died as a direct or indirect result of any cause listed in the previously mentioned reportable deaths.