Guidelines for Notifying the Medical Examiner

Deaths meeting the criteria below must be immediately reported to the Medical Examiner.  In the event that the injury causing the death occurred in another county, the Barron County Medical Examiner is to be notified and will refer the case investigation to the appropriate jurisdiction.

Wisconsin Statute 979 Includes the Following Reportable Deaths:

All deaths in which there are unexplained, unusual or suspicious circumstances.
All homicides.
All suicides.
All accidents, whether the injury is or is not the primary cause of death, and regardless of the time span when death occurred.
Maternal deaths following an abortion.
All deaths due to poisoning (toxicity), whether homicidal, suicidal, or accidental in nature.
When there was no physician or accredited practitioner, who has attended or treated the decedent within 30 days preceding death.
When the physician caring for the decedent refuses to sign the death certificate.
When, after reasonable efforts, a physician cannot be obtained to sign the death certificate.

Although the above cases MUST BE REPORTED, the Medical Examiner has the authority to accept or decline jurisdiction on a case-by-case basis.  When the jurisdiction is declined, the attending physician signs the death certificate.

The investigation of a death by the Medical Examiner's Office is an extremely important function working on behalf of the deceased to obtain the truth about their death.  The key element in discovering the truth is being immediately informed of the death and ensuring that the proper steps and procedures are taken upon arriving at the scene of a death.