Why is the Medical Examiner's Office involved?

Pursuant to Wisconsin State Statute 979.01, the Medical Examiner's Office is required to investigate deaths that fall into the following categories: •All deaths in which there are unexplained, unusual or suspicious circumstances. •Homicides •Suicides •Maternal deaths following abortion. •Deaths due to poisoning, whether homicidal, suicidal, or accidental. •Deaths following accidents, whether the injury is or is not the primary cause of death. •When there was no physician or accredited practitioner in attendance within 30 days preceding death. •When a physician refuses to sign or is unable to sign the death certificate. •Deaths of inmates of public institutions, who have not been hospitalized for organic illness. •Deaths that occur in association with, or as a result of diagnostic, therapeutic, or anesthetic procedures. •Deaths due to neglect. •Fetus of 20 weeks or older, unattended by a physician or practitioner. •Sudden deaths of persons not disabled by recognizable disease processes, in which a fracture of a major bone (femur, humerus, or tibia) has occurred within the past six months. •Deaths occurring outside of a hospital or nursing home, and not enrolled in a palliative care program under the care of a physician. •Occupational related deaths attributable entirely or in part to external work place factors. •Sudden and unexpected deaths occurring in infants or children under the age of 2, under circumstances not explained by a pre-existing medical problem.

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1. What do I do next?
2. Why is the Medical Examiner's Office involved?
3. Will I be able to view the body at the Medical Examiner's Office?
4. What is an autopsy?
5. Will an autopsy be performed?
6. Will an autopsy affect funeral arrangements?
7. Will I have to pay for an autopsy?
8. Who can I speak to about a death investigation?
9. How can I find out about the cause of death?
10. How can I retrieve my loved one's personal possessions?
11. When will my loved one's body be released?
12. How long does it take to get the results of the postmortem examination/ investigation?
13. How can I obtain a copy of the death certificate?
14. Can a "pending" death certificate be used as proof of death?
15. What if the funeral is being held out of state?
16. What is a Medical Examiner?