Frequently Asked Questions
How does the Medical Examiner's Office become involved in a death?
The Medical Examiner's Office may be notified of a death by a law enforcement agency, medical facility, funeral home or vital statistics registrars.
Does every death investigation include an autopsy?
No. A complete autopsy may not be performed if there is adequate medical history, scene findings, and exam findings to establish cause of death. In the case of a suspicious death, an autopsy may be completed for the purpose of documenting and preserving forensic evidence.
When is the autopsy report available?
The autopsy report may be issued once the forensic pathologist has received and reviewed all information related to the autopsy and death investigation. This process may take weeks. Under special circumstances, the forensic pathologist may issue a “Pending” death certificate so that the family can proceed with financial/legal matters associated with the end of life.
How do I obtain a copy of the autopsy report?
Medical Examiner and Autopsy reports are issued by the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office only. They can be obtained by calling the Medical Examiner's office at 971-673-9200 or reviewing online guidelines for the request.
How will a death investigation impact funeral arrangements?
In most cases, funeral arrangements will not be impacted by the death investigation in any way.
What happens to personal property of the decedent?
Personal property may be inventoried or examined by the Medical Examiner's Office before being released to the funeral home. The medical examiner does not retain possession of any personal belongings. In some cases, personal property is considered evidence and will be retained by the investigating law enforcement agency.