Deaths That Must Be Reported

Deaths that must be reported to the Medical Examiner’s Office

Deaths meeting the requisite criteria must be immediately reported to the Kenosha County Medical Examiner’s Office (KCMEO). In the event that the injury causing the death occurred in another county, the KCMEO will refer the investigation to the outside county.

All physicians and others having knowledge of the death of any person who has died under any of the following circumstances shall immediately report it to the KCMEO:

  • All deaths in which there are unexplained, unusual or suspicious circumstances
  • All homicides, suicides, accidents or unnatural deaths
  • All deaths due to poisoning or overdose, whether homicidal, suicidal or accidental
  • All deaths following accidents, regardless of whether the injury is the primary cause of death (examples: quadriplegia due to trauma or an accident)
  • When there is 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
  • All deaths that occur in a hospital emergency room setting
  • Any person who dies within a hospital less than 24 hours after being admitted to the hospital.
  • Maternal deaths due to abortion
  • Deaths of inmates of public institutions who have not been hospitalized for organic illness
  • Deaths of persons in custody of law enforcement officers
  • Deaths that occur in association with, or as a result of diagnostic, therapeutic or anesthetic procedures
  • Deaths due to neglect
  • Fetus of 20 weeks or older, unattended by a physician or practitioner
  • Deaths of persons in which a fracture of a major bone (femur, tibia, pelvis, skull, etc.) has occurred
  • Deaths following traumatic head bleeds
  • Deaths occurring outside of a hospital or nursing home
  • Any hospice death that occurs in Kenosha County
  • Occupational-related deaths attributable entirely or in part to external workplace factors
  • Any death in which there is doubt as to whether it is a Medical Examiner’s case should be reported and discussed with a KCMEO Deputy Medical Examiner

Reporting Procedures

When a death falls into any of the above categories, an individual connected with the case should promptly notify the KCMEO by calling 262-653-3869 and requesting the on-duty Deputy Medical Examiner. 

When reporting a case, have the following information available: 

  • Name
  • Address
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Marital status
  • Next of kin
  • Summary of history
  • Physical findings
  • Name of last attending physician
  • Other pertinent clinical data.

Although the above cases must be reported, the Medical Examiner has the authority to accept or decline jurisdiction on a case-by-case basis. If jurisdiction is declined, the attending physician signs the death certificate. The disposition of the decedent is the responsibility of the next of kin.

Under no circumstances should clothing or effects be handled or disturbed prior to the examination. Personal effects and clothing obtained in emergency room situations must be meticulously protected, saved and released to the Medical Examiner or law enforcement personnel.

The scene should not be altered, including moving weapons or items near the body, to perform a diagnostic examination, except by specific authorization of the KCMEO. The decedent must be maintained in its original state.

The decedent may not be released to anyone other than Medical Examiner personnel, unless so authorized by the Medical Examiner.

The KCMEO must be contacted prior to the removal of any organs or tissues from cases that fall within the Medical Examiner’s jurisdiction.

Next of kin should be directed to call the KCMEO at 262-653-3869 for more information on the circumstances of death and concerns about personal effects.