Ever had a M.E. notify u in LTC

  1. In all my years of working for a LTC facility i have never had a medical examiner call until today. One of our residents expired in the nursing home the family lived in the northern part of the state and we recieved a call from the medical examiner!!! can anyone tell me why they would even call as well as do an autopsy!!!! any help would be appreciated
    thanks
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   snowfreeze
    I have had a few residents who had genetic based terminal conditions who were part of a study and would have an autopsy upon expiring. A few others were in our care after an accident and an autopsy was done on one and we just had to notify the coroner in the county the accident happened on a few others.
  4. by   Mulan
    What was the call about?
  5. by   Lawnurse
    the purpose of an autopsy is to determine the cause of death.

    why would they call you? they need the family's permission. Seems anything they want to know from you is evidenced in the body.

    were they just calling to let you know?
  6. by   nursemid02
    Quote from Lawnurse
    the purpose of an autopsy is to determine the cause of death.

    why would they call you? they need the family's permission. Seems anything they want to know from you is evidenced in the body.

    were they just calling to let you know?
    They called to find out the History of the pt and what happened during death today
  7. by   suzanne4
    Quote from Lawnurse
    the purpose of an autopsy is to determine the cause of death.

    why would they call you? they need the family's permission. Seems anything they want to know from you is evidenced in the body.

    were they just calling to let you know?

    A Medical Examiner autopsy does not require family permission. A routine autopsy at the hospital, when requested by the physician does.

    A Medical Examiner must be notiifed of any patient that expires within 24 hours of surgery, traumatic deaths, unexplained deaths, etc. The M.E. can refuse the case, but they need to be notified. It is their rite to refuse the case. If the M.E. is going to do an autopsy, there is nothing that the family can do to prevent it. At least this how it has been in any state where I have ever worked, and this includes working ER in all of them.........
  8. by   RoxanRN
    Quote from suzanne4
    A Medical Examiner autopsy does not require family permission. A routine autopsy at the hospital, when requested by the physician does.

    A Medical Examiner must be notiifed of any patient that expires within 24 hours of surgery, traumatic deaths, unexplained deaths, etc. The M.E. can refuse the case, but they need to be notified. It is their rite to refuse the case. If the M.E. is going to do an autopsy, there is nothing that the family can do to prevent it. At least this how it has been in any state where I have ever worked, and this includes working ER in all of them.........
    Also, a M.E. must be notified of all out-of-hospital deaths... including LTC. Generally, they will release the body if it is an expected death/terminal illness. As a paramedic, we release the body to the L.E.O. who responds (so we can get back in service) and they make the necessary notifications. The M.E. gathers information (usually by phone) about the PMHx and surrounding circumstances. If no foul play is identified/suspected, the body is released to the mortuary.

    Roxan
    EMICT, RN
  9. by   Lawnurse
    Quote from suzanne4
    A Medical Examiner autopsy does not require family permission. A routine autopsy at the hospital, when requested by the physician does.

    .........
    You're right - I was confusing that with the M.E. talking about the case. Got foiled by that at work the other day when I called an M.E. for his opinion on a case I was working on.

    Thanks for clearing that up.
  10. by   bobnurse
    Did the family call the M.E. and cry foul play? Or death by negligence? Many times a family Demands an autopsy, maybe for future litigation....

    Ive seen many times where the M.E. will decline a case, but the family goes ahead and pays for an autopsy to be done.
  11. by   CoffeeRTC
    We do not contact the coroner/ ME for all LTC deaths. Heck I haven't in the last 10 years. This is in PA and all of the deaths have been natural/ expected.
  12. by   bobnurse
    theres criteria for calling the ME....

    1) Death within 24 hours of admission
    2) Unexpected death
    3) Questionable death
    4) Cant remember this one.........

    But something like this.........So im sure in LTC most people die due to old age, or die due to their disease process..........So no need to call M.E.
  13. by   mattsmom81
    I will share a true story which still troubles me. I was working a new job in a LTAC, first few days on the job and still fumbling with all the paperwork, when I found a poor woman hanging off the bed in a posey restraint, apneic and pulseless. I was the only RN in the building, called 911 and started CPR but I could not revive her. This is the kind of death that goes to the ME.

    I had to file beaucoup paperwork and be interviewed over the phone. Later the ME called me himself to tell me the patient had a massive MI and the restraint was ruled out as causative....I was heartbroken over this and this eased my mind somewhat. Of course I would have been responsible should he have found otherwise, even tho I hadn't restrained the woman (the aides had, I was not told, nor were they making sufficient rounds). This was before all the 'new' restraint rules and incidents like this is likely why they were instituted.

    I decided if I was to be responsible for restrained patients I wanted a say in it... where I could directly observe my patients...in ICU or similar. To this day a report of a restrained patient 'down the hall' scares me to death . I see this occasionally in my agency travels.
  14. by   UM Review RN
    4) Cant remember this one.........
    Is it something about "under the age of 65"?

    And Mattsmom, so sorry that tragic incident happened on your watch. I've never been involved in a situation like that, but I'm thinking it was pure luck.

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