If the death has been expected, the physician caring for the deceased will be able to pronounce the death and this is the person you should first contact. You can then call the funeral home of your choice to remove the body and follow the personal wishes of the deceased.
If the death is unexpected, the police should be notified. They will in turn dispatch an officer and contact a local coroner or medical examiner who will then decide the level of investigation necessary to determine the cause of death. They will arrange to have the body transferred to the either a hospital or examination centre if an autopsy is required (at their cost). You may suggest to the coroner or medical examiner which funeral home you would like to make this transfer, however if you do not or they wish to use their own personnel, you are under no obligation to use the funeral home they choose. Once the body has been transferred and the examination completed you have the right to choose the funeral home you wish to carry out the deceased's final wishes. If after a preliminary examination and investigation it is determined no further inquiry is necessary, you may then call the funeral home of your choice to remove the body and carry out the deceased's final wishes.
If a death was to occur away from the home, i.e. during a vacation or a business trip, then we suggest that you do a few things first.
Call us at the funeral home. He/she will take care of making the necessary contact with a reputable firm in the area that the death occurred.
This action will avoid any possibility of becoming involved with a funeral home outside of your residential area that may care little about matters because they feel they will not ever deal with the family again. When calling us, we can act as your agent, monitoring and avoiding any possibility of excessive, unnecessary or double-billing possibilities.
Contact your local police department and they will dispatch an officer to your location immediately so you will not be alone.
If the death was sudden and unexplained, your local police authorities will make the necessary call to the local coroner to attend to the place of death. A county medical examiner or coroner may be called.
If you have not called your funeral director, you will have to consider doing so as the body will have to be removed by them or an authorized agent. Regrettably, there have been circumstances where police and or coroners have called a funeral home of their choice. While we will not speculate on the motives, often families find themselves being pressured by a funeral home that was called to the scene.
Whether or not you are present when the death occurs a health care professional will contact you and ask a few questions. Two of the questions you may be asked, you should be prepared for.
1. Which funeral service provider will you be releasing the body to, for transfer from the hospital?
2. Would you like an autopsy performed? Unless the deceased has died unexpectedly, you will have the choice. An autopsy is the thorough examination of the deceased body, to understand and determine the cause of death or any factors that may have contributed towards the cause of death. The information resulting from an autopsy can help researchers in developing cures and medications to assist in the preventions of such diseases. Autopsies are generally performed quickly, as to not interfere with the funeral process, however you may experience some short delays and should check with the health care professional as to when you can expect the autopsy to be completed if a delay could be of concern to you.
If you have not called your funeral director, you will have to consider doing so as the body will have to be removed by them or an authorized agent. Regrettably, there have been circumstances where police and/or coroners have called a funeral home of their choice. While we will not speculate on the motives, often families find themselves being pressured by a funeral home that was called to the scene.