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Policy and Procedure

Cases that fall under the Medical Examiner’s jurisdiction include:

  • Homicide
  • Accident (MVA, drugs, etc.)
  • Suicide
  • Sudden, unexplained, unexpected or suspicious death
  • Death unattended by a physician
  • Any death NOT due to 100% natural causes
  • Therapeutic misadventure
  • Death at the work place

Facility where autopsies are performed and identifications:
  • Autopsies are performed at the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Morgue Facility. However, all inquiries should be directed to the Medical Examiner’s main office number (845) 615-3870.
  • Direct body viewing for identification purposes is often not necessary.
  • The morgue is not optimally set up for body viewing. It will be better to view the body of the deceased at the funeral home chosen by the family.

Final autopsy reports:

  • Completion of the many complex tests leading to a final autopsy report often takes 8-12 weeks, and may even take longer. The next of kin may obtain a finalized, written copy of this autopsy report by submitting the original, notarized Final Autopsy Report Request Form. These forms may also be obtained by contacting the Medical Examiner’s clerical staff at (845) 615-3870.
  • The final autopsy report will include tests from toxicological analysis and neuropathology.
  • Autopsy information may be obtained by calling the Medical Examiner assigned to the case at (845) 615-3870.

Death Certificate:

  • Many forensic cases are initially classified as “pending further studies.” This means that samples needed for further testing have been obtained and the cause of death will be amended when test results are received. Funeral services may proceed with “pending further studies” on the death certificate.
  • Once a case is finalized and the death certificate ammendment is forwarded to the municipal registrar where the death occurred, the family of a decedent can obtain a copy of the final death certificate. This is accomplished by calling the appropriate registrar. The Medical Examiner’s Office does not distribute death certificates.
  • To determine if the amendment has been submitted, call the Medical Examiner’s clerical staff at (845) 615-3870.

Organ Donation and Tissue Procurement:

Concerning cases accepted by the Orange County Medical Examiner, all release of tissue for procurement or organ donation must be approved by the Orange County Medical Examiner before harvesting. Every step will be taken to accommodate the last wishes of the decedent and the family’s wishes.