The County Medical Examiner is required by the "Post Mortem Examination Act" (Tennessee
Code Annotated, Sections 38-7-101 through 38-7-116) to investigate certain
types of deaths occurring in this county and to keep records on investigations and
examinations of all such deaths. In this way the medical and legal circumstances
of a death can be properly documented and provisions can be made for the completion
of a Tennessee
Death Certificate. The primary goals of the "Post Mortem Examination Act"
are as follows: (1) to detect unsuspected homicides; (2) to protect the health of
the community; (3) to clarify workmen compensation claims, insurance claims, and
civil lawsuits; and (4) to provide more accurate vital statistics. By law, "the
death of any person resulting from sudden violence or by casualty or by suicide,
or suddenly when in apparent health, or when found dead, or in prison, or in any
suspicious, unusual, or unnatural manner, or where the body is to be cremated",
must be reported to the County Medical Examiner. Furthermore, the death of an individual
occurring in a suspicious, unusual, or unexpected manner while in a hospital, outpatient
facility, nursing home, treatment resource clinic, or other health care facility
must be reported to the County Medical Examiner.
The types of death reported to office include, but are not limited to, the following:
Homicides, Suicides, Drownings, Electrocutions and Lightning, Traffic, Home and
Industrial Accidents, Poisonings, Deaths in Prison or Jails, Aircraft Accidents,
Falls, Burns and Scalds, Freezing or Exposure, Suddenly when no obvious serious
disease is present, Anesthetic Deaths, and any "Delayed Death" following treatment
and /or hospitalization for traumatic injuries.
- The County Medical Examiner Office provides vital information
that is needed by the family of the deceased, Public Health Department, law enforcement,
and many other agencies.
- Comprehensive investigations include selected death
scene visits, postmortem examinations and/or autopsy with photographic and narrative
documentation of various medical evidence, toxicology and serology, x-rays, and
consultation in anthropology, odontology, or other specialties as needed.
- In addition, the County Medical Examiner is responsible
for the preparation of various reports and other documentation related to an individual's
death, and subsequent expert medical testimony in judicial proceedings. This office
is also actively involved in the training of area law enforcement personnel, medical
institutions, and other interest groups.