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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.

All information is general in nature and is not intended to be used as a substitute for appropriate professional advice.   For more information please call 423-493-5175.  Send questions or comments to MedicalExaminer.

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