Many people do not understand the difference between a Coroner and a Medical Examiner. Both essentially perform the same functions, but there are a couple of differences. Medical Examiners are appointed officials and are always licensed physicians. Coroners are elected officials, and this theoretically offers them autonomy and freedom from being controlled by an “appointing” agency, however in most states they are not required to be licensed physicians. Ohio is one of two states that utilize the Coroner system but require their elected Coroners to be licensed physicians.

 

Duties of the Richland County Coroner’s Office include:

 

To respond to death scenes when needed, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

 

To thoroughly investigate death scenes

 

To determine the date and time of death, as near as possible

 

To determine the manner and cause of death

 

To take all necessary steps to properly and positively identify the decedent

 

To collect, preserve, and process pertinent evidence at the scene (sometimes working along with the local or state crime lab)

 

To photograph, sketch, or otherwise document the scene

 

To interview witnesses, family members, physicians, employers, friends, neighbors, etc.

 

To remove the body from the scene in a dignified manner

 

To make sure that next-of-kin are notified in a proper fashion

 

To take responsibility for all personal effects on the person of the deceased, and to document the release of these items to the family, law enforcement, or crime lab

 

To determine in which cases that an autopsy should be performed

 

To arrange for an autopsy by a forensic pathologist when required

 

To be present at autopsy if necessary, and to otherwise consult with the forensic pathologist in determining cause of death

 

To provide families with information and assistance in helping them through the ongoing process of the death investigation

 

To compile and document all information in an unbiased, accurate, and thorough report

 

To interact with other law enforcement, government, and health agencies, including police/sheriff, fire, EMA, prosecutors, private attorneys, OSHA, Consumer Product Safety Commission, FAA, NTSB, hospitals, funeral homes, organ donation teams, etc.

 

To release information to the public and media through interviews and press releases

 

To provide testimony at depositions and in court

 

To provide training and education in the field of death investigation and the role of the Coroner’s office to other law enforcement, health, and community service agencies

 

To otherwise be of community service in any way possible, including community and school education activities and participation in community health forums and safety programs

 

To ensure that the Coroner, Deputy Coroner, and Coroner’s Investigators receive ongoing continuing education by attending death investigation, medical, and forensic seminars, and encouraging certification by the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators

Last Updated: 05 JAN 2018
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