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Procedures for deaths that DO need to be reported to the coroner

  • Steps

    Medical

    1. Do an online deposition (report)
    2. Complete a body identification form
    3. What if the family don't want an autopsy to be performed?
    4. What if you think an autopsy is very important?
    5. Role of the police following notification
    6. Coroners Court of Victoria Web Site
    7. Medical follow-up after death

    Do not complete a death certificate.

    You may be asked to provide more evidence at a later date. You are advised to write a comprehensive note in the patient's unit record and to keep a copy of this and the deposition for your own records.

    The Coronial Services Centre is located at 57-83 Kavanagh Street Southbank, 3006.
    Melways Map 2F, square E9 ( see map )

    Nursing

    In most cases, it is permissible to remove invasive monitoring lines and the ETT. This provides the opportunity for the family to have a last cuddle without such medical equipment in situ. Sometimes removal of medical equipment may make the pathologist's examination more difficult (eg removing an ICP catheter in a suspected case of non-accidental head trauma). Please discuss with the consultant.

    Notify Health Information Services (6103) - they will put history in order and collect coding data from notes.

    When family have left:

    • Send the record to Health Information Services to be copied. (The ward/unit AUM in hours and the AHC after hours are responsible to take the record - to HIS for immediate copying..  
    • HIS is to immediately photocopy the record. The original should be placed in a sealed envelope to go to the morgue. Please Note: the photocopy of the record must stay in HIS.
    • Send body to mortuary.
    • Call coroner's office on 1300 309 519 and tell them body is ready for collection from mortuary. 

    Online deposition

    Step 1:     Before you do a deposition, ring the coroner's office (1300 309 519).   

     

    What if the family don't want an autopsy to be performed?

    In the past we had a form for families to object to an autopsy. This process has now changed. The Coroner's initial investigations office now contacts families within 24 hours of the death being reported to their office, to discuss whether or not an autopsy may be required, and how they feel about that.  The initial investigations office then liaises with the pathologist, who will have conducted an external examination of the body and reviewed the medical record and determined whether they feel an autopsy would be advised.  The Coroner will then decide whether or not to direct an autopsy be conducted, taking into account the view of the next of kin.  The family will then be advised of the decision and how to exercise their right to object if they wish to do so.

     

    What if you think an autopsy is very important?

    You should write a letter to the Coroner, as soon as possible after the death, outlining the reasons why you feel an autopsy should be conducted.  The Coroner is then obliged to respond, either way, under the Act.  Depending on the circumstances, the Coroner may agree to an autopsy even if the family would prefer there wasn't one.

     

    Role of the police following notification

    When the Coroner is notified of a reportable death, the police attend the hospital to record information regarding the deceased patient.  

    Medical staff can provide the police with a copy of the e-deposition. They can also provide a further statement if it is convenient to do so at that time but the police are not empowered to take a statement from the medical officer at the time. The statement can be provided later, particularly if staff are very busy eg overnight.  If the police officers are being insistent that they take a statement at the time, RCH staff can contact the Coroner’s Office to clarify the situation.

    Coroners Court of Victoria Web Site

    There is a lot of information for medical practitioners and families on the  Coroners Court of Victoria Web Site

    Specific medical materials on the site are

     

    Back to list of tasks for cases reported to Coroner