OCME Case Criteria

The Post Mortem Examiner's Commission, pursuant to Statute §5-309, has developed the following guidelines for deaths to be reported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner regardless of where or when the initial injury event occurred:

  • Any death that occurs suddenly and unexpectedly, that is, when the person has not been under medical care for significant heart, lung or other disease.
  • Any death suspected to be due to violence, that is, suicidal, accidental, or homicidal.
  • Any death suspected to be due to alcohol or drug intoxication or the result of exposure to other toxic agents.
  • Any death of a resident housed in a county or state institution.
  • Any death of a person while in the custody of law enforcement officers.
  • Any death occurring in a nursing home or other private institution without recent medical attendance.
  • Any death that occurs unexpectedly during, in association with, or as a result of diagnostic, therapeutic, surgical or anesthetic procedures.
  • Any death suspected to be involved with the decedent’s occupation.
  • Any death that is possibly, directly or indirectly, attributable to environmental exposure not other specified.
  • Any death due to neglect.
  • Any stillbirth of 20 or more weeks gestation period or weighing 500 grams or more.
  • Any death of a pregnant woman regardless of the gestation period.
  • Any death of an infant or child where the medical history has not established some pre-existing lethal medical condition.
  • Any death of a fetus that occurs as a result of injury to the mother.
  • Any death which is suspected to be due to infectious or contagious disease wherein the diagnosis and extent of disease at the time are undetermined.
  • Any death occurring under suspicious circumstances.


Send comments or questions to info@ocmemd.org.