Autopsies & Death Certificate
Often families have questions about what to do next along with questions about autopsies and information about death certificates. It is our hope that the following explanations are helpful.
Not all cases that are investigated by the coroner’s office have to be autopsied, in fact most cases are investigated and released typically from the scene of death or after a brief time being held at the morgue in Covington. When an autopsy is required to determine the cause and manner of death the deceased is transported to the GBI State Medical Examiner’s Office where a medical examiner, completes the necessary autopsy. If the cause and manner of death are obvious at that time the medical examiner returns the information to the coroner and the death certificate can be signed out in a timely manner. However, if the cause and manner of death are delayed due to further investigation, toxicology and or histology testing these death certificates can be delayed as long as 90 days or more.
No matter if an autopsy is necessary or not it is important for the family to take the next step in having their loved one released to a funeral home to care for the disposition of the deceased in a timely manner.
In the State of Georgia the death certificate is originated by the funeral home that handles the disposition of a deceased. The death certificate is then forwarded to the coroner’s office for cause, manner and signature. Once that is completed the death certificate is returned to the funeral home. The funeral home at that point will either file the death certificate with the county of death and / or obtain certified copies of that filed death certificate for the family.
Death certificates are completed by this office as quickly as possible however, there can be delays in completing the death certificate and those delays are outside of the control of the coroner’s office.