Frequently Asked Questions
FAQs on Death Investigation
Q: Why is the Coroner involved in the death of my loved one?
A: The following is a list of deaths in which the Coroner's Office is contacted*:
- Sudden death of a healthy child.
- Death occurring within 24 hours of admission at a hospital or health care facility
- Physician unable to state cause of death, after careful review of medical chart, or decendent does not have a physician
- Known or suspected homicide
- Known or suspected suicide
- Related to or following known suspected self-induced or criminal abortion
- Following an accident to injury primary or contributory, either old or recent
- Drowning, fire, exposure, acute alcoholism, drug addiction, strangulation, aspiration or malnutrition
- Accidental poisoning (food, chemical, drug, therapeutic agents)
- Occupational dsease or occupational hazards
- Known or suspect contagious disease constituting a public hazard, excluding A.I.D.S.
- All deaths where patient is under anesthetic
- All deaths of unidentified persons
* The Coroner will determine if the death will be investigated or if the death certificate can be routinely signed by the attending physician.
Q: Is an autopsy always performed?
A: Not always. If the death is a "Natural Death" and cause of death can be determined by past medical history or from an external exam, the Coroner will normally not perform an autopsy.
Q: Why are autopsies performed?
A: There are a number of reasons autopsies are performed. However, the basic reason is to determine the medical cause of death. The primary reason is to gather evidence for presentation in a court of law.
Q: Is there a charge for these services?
A: No, not if performed by our office
Q: Can I come see him/her?
A: Due to leagl and health issues, visitation of the loved one is done only at the funeral home after the body is properly perpared.
Q: What about funeral arrangemnets?
A: Contact the funeral director of your choice as soon as possible and advise him/her what has transpired. Your funeral director will then coordinate further arrangements with the Coroner and help you begin the preparations for your loved one's funeral.
Q: How long does the office take to close its cases?
A: Most cases that are investigated by the Coroner's Office are reviewed and closed within 14-21 days. If a case is pending toxicology, a cause and manner of death could take up to 8 weeks for final results.
FAQs on Organ Donation
Q: Who can be an organ or tissue donor?
A: Most anyone from birth to age 75 and beyond can be a donor.
Q: What can I donate?
A: As an organ donor you can donate heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, intestine, and pancreas. As a tissue donor you can donate corneas, skin, bone, and heart valves.
Q: Is there a neeed for organ and tissue donors?
A: Yes. Every day up to 8 people die due to a shortage of donated organs. Another man, woman, or child is added to the transplant waiting list every 18 minutes
Q: Does m religion support donation?
A: All major religions fully support organ and tissue donation. If you have a specific question contact your religious leader.
Q: Will my family have to pay additional fees if I am a donor?
A: No. Once your family gives consent for donation, all costs related to the donation and recovery of organs will be paid by Indiana Organ Procurement Organization.
Q: Will my donation affect my funeral arrangements?
A: No. The appearance of your body will not be altered. A highly skilled team of transplant surgeons will recover the organs in a manner that will allow your family to carry out normal funeral arrangements.
A: How are organs distributed to patients waiting for a transplant?
A: Each patient waiting for a transplant is listed with the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). This agency is responsible for ensuring that the donated organs are distributed equitably and fairly. When a donor is identified, the donor's blood type, tissue type, body weight and size are matched against the list of patients currently waiting for a transplant. In addition, the recipient's severity of illness and time on the waiting list are factored into the matching process.