IV. VARIOUS LAWS AND ATTORNEY GENERAL OPINIONS REGARDING THE OFFICE OF THE CORONER.
The following selected section of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) is listed below so that the reporting institution or individual may fully understand that providing information to the Office of the Coroner is merely to comply with the law and that failure to do so would place them in jeopardy of prosecution. See further information on the ORC in "Links" or
Notification of the Coroner in Case of Death by Violence or Suicide
When any person dies as a result of criminal or other violent means, by casualty, by suicide, or in any suspicious or unusual manner, or when any person, including a child under two years of age, dies suddenly when in apparent good health, or when any mentally retarded person or developmentally disabled person dies regardless of the circumstances, the physician called in attendance, or any member of an ambulance service, emergency squad, or law enforcement agency who obtains knowledge thereof arising from his duties, shall immediately notify the Office of the Coroner of the known facts concerning the time, place, manner, and circumstances of such death, and any other information which is required pursuant to sections 313.01 to 313.22 of the ORC. In such cases, if a request is made for cremation, the funeral director called in attendance shall immediately notify the Coroner.
Removal or disturbing of body or effects prohibited.
No person, without an order from the coroner, any deputy coroner, or an investigator or other person designated by the coroner as having authority to issue an order under this section, shall purposely remove or disturb the body of any person who has died in the manner described in section 313.12 of the Revised Code, or purposely and without such an order disturb the clothing or any article upon or near such a body or any of the possessions that the coroner has a duty to store under section 313.14 of the Revised Code.
It is an affirmative defense to a charge under this section that the offender attempted in good faith to rescue or administer life-preserving assistance to the deceased person, even though it is established he was dead at the time of the attempted rescue or assistance.
Whoever violates this section is guilty of unlawfully disturbing a body, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
Firearms in personal effects of deceased person.
If firearms are included in the valuable personal effects of a deceased person who met death in the manner described by section 313.12 of the Revised Code, the coroner shall deliver the firearms to the chief of police of the municipal corporation within which the body is found, or to the sheriff of the county if the body is not found within a municipal corporation. The firearms shall be used for law enforcement purposes only or they shall be destroyed. Upon delivery of the firearms to the chief of police or the sheriff, the law enforcement officer to whom the delivery is made shall give the coroner a receipt for the firearms that states the date of delivery and an accurate description of the firearms.
III. INFORMATION FOR PHYSICIANS AND MEDICAL PERSONNEL
Ohio Law provides specifically for cooperation with the Office of the Coroner. Cooperation is necessary for proper investigation and examination. Requests may be made for photocopies of all hospital records, including nursing notes, to supply background for accurate evaluation of the case. Blood and other specimens obtained, upon admission to the hospital, may also be requested. Medical personnel are encouraged to discuss cases with the Coroner as well as the Coronerís Investigators.
Requests for Medical and Psychiatric Records of deceased Persons.
House Bill 499 grants specific statutory authority for a coroner, in connection with the performance of his or her lawful duties, to request in writing, inspect and receive copies of a deceased personís medical and psychiatric records. This authority is also granted under the bill to deputy coroners and to representatives of coroners and deputy coroners.
Medical and Psychiatric Records are not Subject to Release Under the Public Records Law.
Any medical or psychiatric record of a deceased person provided to a coroner, deputy coroner or their representative under ORC 313.091 is not a public record subject to release under the public records law. Nor does the release of these records violate ORC 4731.22. That section of the ORC prohibits medical practitioners from "willfully betraying a professional confidence."