What do I do next when a loved one dies?
The first thing you need to do is take care of yourself. A lot of information will be shared with you and you will need to make several decisions. The following is a suggested list to help guide you and your loved one through the Medicolegal process:

When notified of a loved one's death, involve your family, friends, and clergy for support and comfort. They will be able to assist you in making sense of this tragic and sometimes sudden news.

You will need to select a funeral home to assist you in making funeral arrangements and to coordinate the final disposition of your loved one's remains. Once you have chosen a funeral home, the funeral director will make arrangements to pick up and transport your loved one's remains back to the funeral home following the autopsy. Keep track of any and all business cards given to you by law enforcement, county medical examiner, ambulance, and funeral home personnel. Start a file or folder to correlate all paperwork and information that will be shared with you as a result of your loved one's passing. Finally, remember to check in on yourself. Stress can come into one's life quickly and unexpectedly. Do not be afraid to use resources available to you in your community.

Show All Answers

1. What types of death fall under the medical examiner's jurisdiction?
2. What is the difference between a medical examiner and a coroner?
3. What is the difference between a medical examiner and medical examiner investigator?
4. If a death appears natural, why is the Muscatine County Medical Examiner Department involved?
5. What is an autopsy?
6. When and why is an autopsy needed and who determines this?
7. May a family refuse an autopsy ordered by the medical examiner?
8. Who pays for the autopsy?
9. Does an autopsy affect funeral services?
10. How do I choose a funeral service provider?
11. Where will the autopsy take place?
12. Who may obtain copies of the autopsy report?
13. How may I obtain a copy of the autopsy report?
14. Who can request that a forensic autopsy be performed?
15. How long does it take to receive a copy of an autopsy report?
16. What is a death certificate and how do I obtain a copy?
17. I would like to have my loved one's organs / tissues donated. Will medical examiner involvement keep this from happening?
18. How do I get the personal effects of my loved one?
19. What is the best way to dispose of my loved one's leftover prescription medication?
20. Are there any rules concerning the moving of a deceased person prior to the arrival of the medical examiner investigator?
21. Who is legally required to report a death to the Muscatine County Medical Examiner Department?
22. How does HIPAA effect a medical examiner's ability to access protected health information?
23. What do I do next when a loved one dies?