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How the System Works in Marion County
Some deaths in Marion County do not require the services of the Medical Examiners Office. In these cases, the attending physician will be signing the death certificate. Normally, the funeral home will be assisting you in contacting the doctor and arranging the details. If on the other hand, the death requires an investigation, your Marion County Medical Examiners Office becomes involved.
Trained investigators staff the Marion County Medical Examiners Office. These investigators are referred to as Deputy Medical Examiners and are supervised by Chief Deputy Medical Examiner Rick Thompson. These individuals are state or national Certified Medicolegal Death Investigators and have completed a level of training found in the National Guidelines for Death Scene Investigation published by the National Institute of Justice.
During the investigation, any number of different methods and individuals are used to come to a logical conclusion. These include but are not limited to, examination of medical records, consultation with family physicians, lab results, police investigations, examination of the scene and body and determining the circumstance of the death.
After the initial investigation is completed, the details are discussed with either Marion County District Medical Examiner Steven Fletcher M.D., or pathologists at the Oregon State Medical Examiners Office. These medical doctors can order an autopsy, additional lab work, or follow-up investigation to help them determine the cause and method of death. After an investigation has been completed, a detailed report and a death certificate are issued.
Ultimately all death certificates, even including the ones not requiring the services of the Medical Examiners Office, are reviewed by the Oregon State Vital Statistics Section.
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