Death in ED

Do you need to Refer to Coroner? 

Question 1: Are there clear grounds for referral to the coroner?

(The death is suspicious or unnatural, for example it is traumatic, related to drug or alcohol intoxication)

  • YESrefer to the coroner using the online form available on the intranet
  • NO – . (Go to Question 2)

Question 2: Is the cause of death known?

  • YES – the cause of death is clear.
    • MCCD can be issued, but only after  agreed with an ME
  • POSSIBLY – you are not sure but feel it may be possible to arrive at a sensible cause of death “to the best of your knowledge”
    • Discussion with an ME may be helpful in allowing you to issue an MCCD
  • NO – there is no diagnostic information that could lead to a likely cause of death
    • Likely referral to the coroner, but discussion with an ME may still help agree the appropriate course of action.

Advice can be sought directly from the ME team via email (during office hours) medical.examiner@cht.nhs.uk


Referring to the Coroner immediately (24 hrs/day)

  • Complete Coroners Referral form
  • Send via NHS email to the email address on the form
    (If you don’t have an NHS email (E.g. Locum staff) this form can be sent by another member of staff that does)

Police only need to be informed in the following circumstances:

  • When the identity of the deceased is unknown
  • When support is needed in identifying OR informing the next of kin of the deceased
  • If the death is suspicious

Take a copy of the death notice and coroner’s referral form to General Office

  • If out of hours, it should be taken at 9am the following morning
  • This ensures General Office can maintain communication with the deceased relatives
  • If you are able to complete a death certificate these are available in the red boxes in both departments – please do this before leaving shift and take to the general office in hours or the next working day at 9am.
  • if a cremation form is required these are now online and general office will send you the link – please complete these promptly to help families.

MRN number should be noted

  • In the ED co-ordinator’s diary so that the duty consultant can discuss with the coroner on the next working day if needed.

Document following in the patients notes:

  • Time of certification and full name and contact details of certifying doctor
  • Cause of death if known
  • Names and phone numbers of NOK
  • Names of those present when the patient died (staff and relatives)
  • The completion of the referral to the coroner (also print a paper copy of the form)

Link to coroners webpage – if you need to confirm contact details

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