Can I refuse an Autopsy?

In situations where the death appears to be the result of natural causes, there is no evidence of foul play nor is their evidence to support that the death is anything other than due to natural causes, one can decline an autopsy. If you decide not to have a postmortem examination, you must sign a form which states you will accept the death. If you choose to do so, however, the exact cause of death may never be known and may be listed as undetermined on the death certificate. This may be important as far as insurance is concerned or where there may be an undetected disease process which may have an impact on other family members. If there are doubts, please talk it over with other family members before a final joint decision is reached. In cases where the actual cause of death is unclear or due to unusual circumstances, such as homicide, suicide or where concerns of foul play are raised either by others or law enforcement personnel, an autopsy can be ordered, by law, by the coroner.

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1. Why is the Coroner’s Office involved?
2. Will an autopsy be performed?
3. Can I refuse an Autopsy?
4. Will I still be able to have an open casket service if an autopsy is performed?
5. Do I have to pay for an autopsy to be done?
6. How long will it take before my loved one is released from the coroner’s jurisdiction?
7. Is viewing or visiting allowed while my loved on is under the coroner’s jurisdiction?
8. Who contact’s the funeral home?
9. How do I obtain a certified copy of the death certificate?
10. When will the autopsy report be ready and how do I obtain a copy?
11. What are my next steps after my loved one has been taken under the coroner’s jurisdiction?
12. Who is considered the next of kin?