Thursday, November 08, 2007

Removal of a Dead Body

There is always stuff going on demanding and using my time, so it gets tough getting blogging done (it isn’t an integral part of my work). Ongoing union negotiations to get it ‘right”, 2 presentations last week on the updated county Questionable Death Protocol, instituting and reinstituting policies so memos have to be composed and sent, in addition to the “real” work of the office doing death investigations, are all part of the job.

Someone brought to our attention that we weren’t in compliance with statute in continuing a “common practice” (i.e. no written policy) that had been instituted and continued under previous coroners here in Lake County. There is a statute that says, in short (and in weird legalese), that a licensed funeral director must be present when they remove a decedent from our office to their facility.
“The removal of a deceased human body from its place of death, institution or other location. A licensed funeral director and embalmer trainee may remove a deceased human body from its place of death, institution, or other location without another licensee being present. The licensed funeral director and embalmer may engage others who are not licensed funeral directors and embalmers or funeral director and embalmer trainees to assist in the removal if the funeral director and embalmer directs and instructs them in handling and precautionary procedures and accompanies them on all calls.” (225 ILCS41/1-20(c))

Transport personnel, trained or not, can not do the transfer without a licensed funeral director actually present.

I found this out because the word was that that someone was going to make an issue of the practice, not that any problem had occurred from the practice, but just because they could make an issue of it. So the policy is changed and will become a written policy. I am sure that the prior practice was a help to some of the smaller funeral homes, but the law is the law and now that I know that the prior office practice violated the law we will change the practice.

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