The following information has been compiled for the purpose of acquainting individuals and organizations with the procedures to be followed when they come in contact with the types of deaths described below. Conformity with these procedures will prevent unnecessary delay and inconvenience to the family, friends, and those persons having any responsibility to and for the deceased.
Notification in Case of Death by Violence or Suicide
Any person who discovers the body or acquires the first knowledge of the death of any person who died as the result of criminal or other violent means, or by casualty, or by suicide, or suddenly when in apparent health, or in any suspicious of unusual manner, shall immediately notify the Coroner ‘s office of the known facts concerning the time, place, manner and circumstances of such death, and of any other information which is required by the Coroner.
Notification by Hospital
Any person D.O.A. (Dead on Arrival) at hospitals, these cases are to be reported immediately and no person shall, without an order from the Coroner, willfully touch, remove, disturb the body or disturb the clothing or any article upon or near such body. This includes any death which occurs within twenty-four hours after admission.
Notification by Physician in Case of Death by Violence or Suicide
When any person dies as a result of criminal or other violent means, or by casualty, or by suicide, or suddenly when in apparent health, or in any suspicious or unusual manner the physician called in attendance shall immediately notify the office of the coroner of the known facts concerning the time, place, manner and circumstances of such death and if request is made for cremation, the funeral director called in attendance shall immediately notify the Coroner.
Report to the Coroner’s Office
- Accidental Deaths (All Forms, including death arising from employment)
- Homicidal Deaths
- Suicidal Deaths
- Sudden Deaths: When in apparent health or in an suspicious or unusual manner including:
- Anesthetic Accident (Death on the operating table prior to recovery from anesthesia.)
- Blows or other forms of mechanical violence
- Crushed beneath falling objects
- Cutting or Stabbing
- Drowning (actual or suspected)
- Electric Shock
- Fractures of bones (not pathological).
- Such cases are to be reported even when the fracture is not primarily responsible for the death.
- All hip fractures, if patient dies within one year and one month are considered a Coroner’s Case and the Coroner must be notified
- Carbon Monoxide poisoning (resulting from natural gas, automobile exhaust or other)
- Heat Exhaustion
- Insolation (sunstroke)
- Poisoning (food poisoning, occupational or other)
- Vehicular Accidents (automobile, street car, bus, railroad, motorcycle, bicycle, or other)
When the manner of death falls within the above classification, such deaths must be reported to the Coroner even though the survival period subsequent to onset is 12 months.
- Sudden death on the street, at home, or in a place of employment
- Deaths under unknown circumstances, whenever there are no witnesses or where little or no information can be elicited concerning the deceased person. Deaths of this type include those persons whose dead bodies are found in the open, in places of temporary shelter, or in their home under conditions which offer no clues to the cause of death.
- Deaths which follow injuries sustained at place of employment whenever the circumstances surrounding such injury may ultimately be subject of investigation. Deaths of this classification include: Caisson disease (bends), industrial infections (anthrax, septicemia following wounds including gas bacillus infections, tetanus, etc.), silicosis, industrial poisonings (acids, alkalis, aniline, bensine, carbon monoxide, carbon tetrachloride, cyanogens, lean, nitrous fumes, etc.), contusions, abrasions, fractures, burns, (flames, chemical or electrical) received during employment which in the opinion of the attending physician are sufficiently important, either as the cause or contributing factor to the cause of death, to warrant certifying them on the death certificate.
- All stillborn infants where there is suspicion of illegal interference.
- Deaths of persons where the attending physician cannot be found, or deaths of persons who have not been attended by a physician within 48 hours prior to the date of death.
- All deaths occurring within 24 hours of admission to a hospital.
- All hip fractures, if the patient dies within one year and one month, will be a Coroners case and the Coroner must be notified.
- All deaths in State institutions and all deaths of wards of the State in private care facilities or in programs funded by the Department of mental health and Development Disabilities or the Department of Children and Family Services shall be reported to the Coroner of the County in which the facility is located. If the Coroner has reason to believe that an investigation is needed to determine whether the death was caused by maltreatment or negligent care of the ward of the State, the Coroner may conduct a preliminary investigation other circumstances of such death as in cases of death under circumstances set forth in the Illinois complied Statutes.
- Any deaths which occur within Douglas County and not at a hospital or nursing home facility (at any residence, employer, and/or public facility) will immediately be reported to the Coroner.
All deaths in Douglas County where a cremation of the remains is to take place must also be reported to the Coroner.
Responsibilities of the Coroner
Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Respond to or dispatch Deputy Coroner to death scene
- Collect toxicological samples and submit for analysis
- Make death notification to next-of-kin
- Coordinate and facilitate organ donation
- Determine necessity for autopsy
- Facilitate autopsy process
- Coordinate transport of deceased from death scene
- Conduct death investigations when necessary
- Schedule and conduct inquests
- Summon jury from Jury Commission for inquests
- Issue Temporary Death Certificates
- Issue Permanent Death Certificates
- Facilitate burial of indigent
- Issue cremation permits
- Maintain records of all deaths reported
- Maintain permanent records of all inquested cases
- Maintain vital statistics related to all cases reported
- Take charge of personal property of a deceased person until it can be released
- Disaster Deputy Coroners
- Be prepared for any disaster situation