Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Whatcom [Washington State] County Medical Examiner’s Policy and Procedure Manual

Whatcom [Washington State] County Medical Examiner’s Policy and Procedure Manual – http://www.whatcomcounty.us/DocumentCenter/View/369

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • Under what circumstances would a family have no veto over conducting an autopsy?
  • What do medical examiners do at the scene of a homicide?
  • When must deaths be reported to a medical examiner?
  • If someone dies of an apparent heart attack during a bank robbery, must the medical examiner be informed?


This is a 53 page coroners manual that covers a number of situations, including:

  • Types of Deaths to be Reported to the Medical Examiner
  • Deaths Occuring in Emergency Rooms
  • SIDS Deaths
  • Non-Homicide – Scene Investigation
  • Homicide – Scene Investigation
  • Indigent Remains
  • Personal Property Procedure

Unless you notice specific references to Washington State statutes, it is probably safe to assume that this manual’s policies and procedures are mostly applicable to other jurisdictions. You can find medical examiner’s manuals for other jurisdictions by visiting usa.gov and searching (“medical examiners” manual)


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