The Coroner

What happens when the coroner is involved?


The first thing to say is that when a death is unexpected the shock can initially be overwhelming.  In an instance your whole world is turned upside-down.  So many questions and uncertainty fills one’s mind.

This is not to say an expected death is any less difficult.  There are differences though and today I want to look briefly at the role of the coroner.

Some deaths are referred to the coroner because the death is unexplained or unexpected.  If the person is alone when they died the coroner is sometimes involved.

When the coroner is involved it doesn’t make things any more complicated for families in terms of funeral arrangements.  Here is the general process.

  1. The person has died and the police have been notified because of the above reasons (unexpected, etc).

  2. The police will then liaison with the family and talk them through every step. They will be your main contact at this time.

  3. The person will be taken to the hospital morgue for an autopsy.

  4. The deceased is usually at the hospital for only a few days.

  5. Then the coroner releases the body once they have completed all their investigations. There may be occasions the release is delayed.  But this isn’t common.

  6. The coroner will email the release papers – usually to the funeral director.

  7. The person can then be collected from the morgue and the funeral can carry on as usual.

  8. The police/coroner will contact the family with any results or information when the final report is completed.

Again, this is just a very general outline.  But this is what tends to happen in most cases.

The process itself is very straightforward.  As mentioned, the time with the coroner is a few days and there is nothing extra the family need to do in regards to this.

You can contact a funeral home at anytime for support and guidance.  When a family contact me, the process is very similar as other funerals.  We meet and discuss what the family want to happen and complete the paperwork. 

I would contact the coroner to request the release papers when they are ready.  Then I can collect the person and the funeral can go ahead.  I keep the family informed throughout and we would have the funeral they want at a time that suits them.

When someone has died the police use a funeral home that has the police contract for taking people to the morgue.  Even though this funeral home is used there is absolutely no requirement to use them as your funeral director.  In fact, they are not allowed to promote their business over others. 

However some funeral homes can be a little sneaky with this using a few techniques to get chosen.  They do things like return some clothing to the family – with the intention of seeing if the family have contacted a funeral home and saying it’s probably easier to just use us.

When the coroner is involved it is likely that the death is sudden and come as a huge shock for the family.  This is why I always say to families to take your time, there’s no rush and we will take one step at a time. 

The police are usually very good to deal with and the hospital staff too, if the family go to confirm identification or have a viewing at the hospital morgue.

The death of a loved one is tough and I know most people thankfully don’t need to deal with it often.  My goal is to take as much of the stress from you as I can and help guide you through this time with kindness and support.  It is my priority to provide a service that you want.