Frequently Asked Questions
What deaths are reportable? This Office investigates fatalities in the following categories: death due to any form of injury, whether resulting from accident, suicide, or homicide; sudden or unexpected deaths not due to readily recognizable disease; deaths occurring under suspicious circumstances (e.g., child abuse); deaths of any individual whose body is to be disposed of in a manner which will render it unavailable for later examination; deaths at or related to the workplace; deaths due to disease which might constitute a threat to the public health.
On what types of deaths are autopsies performed? Autopsies are performed on all homicide victims and gunshot victims. In addition, the vast majority of pedestrians, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, overdoses, industrial accidents, sudden and otherwise unexplained deaths under the age of 45 and a variety of other types of cases are subject to autopsy examination.
Who has access to the autopsy report? In accordance with the regulations of the Commission on Medicolegal Investigations, the complete records of all investigations are made available to the family of the deceased, to any federal, state or municipal governmental agency or public health authority investigating the death; to insurance companies with a legitimate interest in the death; to all parties in civil litigative proceedings, and to treating physicians. In addition, records may be made available to any other individual with the written consent of the family or by court order. Legitimate scientific research organizations may also have access to the records provided the identity of the decedents are not published or otherwise made public. Records are not otherwise open to the general public.
How can I obtain a copy of the report? Send a written request to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Medical Records Unit, 11 Shuttle Road, Farmington, CT 06032. Your request must include:
Your name, address and telephone where you can be reached between 1:00pm and 3:00pm EST
The name of the deceased and date of death
Your relationship to the deceased
The signature of the requesting party
Can I request copies of records via e-mail? Unfortunately, we cannot honor e-mail requests for medical records at this time.
How much does it cost for a copy of the records? The charge is $2.13 per page and an additional $5.32 if you require a true copy certification. Reports typically range from four to seven pages.
Should I send money now? Do not include payment with your initial request. When your request is received, you will be advised, in writing, of the status of the report. If the report is complete, you will receive an invoice stating the amount due. If the report is not complete, your request will be acknowledged and you will be notified as soon as it is complete.
Are there any other charges that I should be aware of? Specific documents are required for cases which are to be cremated. There is a $150.00 fee for this which is usually handled through the funeral director of the family's choice. Other than this and the charge for records as described above, there are no charges to the family for the services of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Who can I call if I have questions about an autopsy report I have received? Contact the Chief Medical Examiner's Office at (860) 679-3980 and ask for the pathologist who performed the autopsy.
How can I get a copy of a Death Certificate? The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner cannot provide copies of death certificates. Copies of death certificates must be obtained from the Registrar of Vital Statistics of the town in which the death occurred.
How do I make arrangements for a deceased to be released from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner? The family should make contact with a funeral home of their choice. The funeral home will make the arrangements for the removal from OCME. Usually the removal can be made within a day of the death, however if necessary, the deceased may remain at OCME while the final arrangements are being completed.
What if the funeral is being held out of state? Families who wish to have the funeral and burial in another state should contact their funeral director of choice in that state. Most funeral directors have professional connections with funeral directors here in Connecticut. Any out of state funeral director who has questions on how to proceed may call OCME at (860) 679-3980 for assistance.
See also: OCME brochures.