House Clearance Help & Advice: Coroners fees, post-mortem and the inquest
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Sometimes a post mortem will be needed or an inquest when your loved one passes away, this is in particular circumstances if the exact cause of death was unknown. While the loved ones don’t like to think of things like this happening to their loved one after they have passed, they are only performed if absolutely necessary and with the greatest respect.
A death will usually be reported to the corner if any of the circumstances below occur
There has been an accident or an injury just before the death
The death has followed on from an industrial disease
The death occurred after an operation performed in the hospital
The death occurred after an operation but before the anaesthetic worn off
If there is no apparent reason for the cause of death
If the death was deemed to be violent or unnatural
If the death was unexplained in any way or occurred suddenly
If your loved one was not seen by the Doctor who issued the medical certificate following the death or wasn’t seen by a Doctor for 14 days prior to the death then the death must by law be reported to the coroner. Usually the coroner will be informed by the police or hospital but anyone who suspects anything untoward also has the legal obligation and right to inform the coroner.
What happens once the death has been reported?
In some cases the coroner may be the only person who can ascertain why your loved one died and so the Doctor will put down on the formal notice that the coroner has been informed. The formal notice is what the attending Doctor at the death gives to you and explains clearly how you can register the death. Following this the coroner will then decide if the death needs any further investigation, you cannot register the death of your loved one before the coroner has made his/her decision which sometimes means that the funeral arrangements can be delayed.
In some cases the coroner will ask that a medical examination be performed, this is called a post mortem and is usually performed if the cause of death isn’t obvious. If this is the case then the post mortem will be carried out in the hospital. While you cannot object or stop a post mortem from being carried out, if you have any religious issues or strong objections then you can voice these and the coroner will give them some consideration. If the death has been reported to the coroner simply because the person who passed didn’t see a Doctor during the previous 14 days then the coroner will want to talk with the deceased’s close family and Doctor and usually a post mortem can be avoided.
Sometimes an inquest may be needed into the cause of death, this is a legal inquiry into to the death which is held by the coroner in circumstances such as where the death was unnatural or violent or if the cause of death cannot be determined even after conducting a post mortem. If an inquest is needed then the coroner must inform the civil partner or married partner of the deceased or the deceased’s nearest relative. Relatives are allowed to not only attend the inquest but also ask questions themselves of any witnesses.
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