The primary responsibility of the county coroner is to determine the manner and cause of death when there is a sudden or unexpected death in the county. The coroner’s office requires investigation into all deaths of:
- anyone in custody;
- any death within 24-hours of obtaining medical care;
- any fetus beyond 20 weeks gestational age, or any fetal death where there was an injury to the mother;
- any death following a thermal or chemical burn, radiation injury or other accident;
- any death related to recent trauma, or to poisoning, or to infectious disease;
- any death from suicide or homicide;
- any death where there is no attending physician.
In addition to a scene investigation, the ability to correctly complete the death certificate with regard to cause and manner of death may require review of medical records, interviews with those who knew the deceased, and those who provided medical care, etc. In some cases, an autopsy will be performed as part of the investigation. Autopsies are performed by a Board Certified Forensic Pathologist in Springfield, Illinois, and are attended by the Coroner or a deputy coroner if possible.
Every effort is made to complete death certificates promptly. However, many times there are delays because of the need to obtain prior records, or because of autopsy studies, etc.
The Coroner is also available to assist family members as needed, to aid in understanding when there are unanswered questions, to explain autopsy findings, to provide information to insurance agencies or attorneys, and to retrieve data from old files, etc.
A file is kept on each “coroner case” and may include a coroner’s report, photos, a copy of medical records, the death certificate, the autopsy, an accident or police report, requests for the coroner’s report, toxicology studies, suicide note, etc.
The Macon County Coroner can be reached by pager for urgent situations, by contacting local law enforcement; or by calling the office number or by fax. Leave a message if the Coroner is not available.