FAQ

 

1.   Who is the Coroner?
            Pamela L. Gay was elected Coroner in November 2013 and took office January 6, 2014. A
            registered nurse for 34 years and certified in Forensic Nursing, Pam’s focus is on reaching
            out to survivors of loss and educating the community regarding health trends in York County
            and the preventative measures that can be taken to reduce deaths due to substance abuse and
            suicide. Pam is also certified as a Diplomate by the American Board of Medicolegal Death
            Investigators.

2.   What are the duties of the Coroner?
            The York County Coroner’s Office (YCCO) investigates the facts and circumstances of deaths that
            occur within the county. The purpose of the investigation is to determine the cause of any
            such death and to determine whether or not there is sufficient reason to believe that any such
            death may have resulted from criminal acts or criminal neglect of persons other than the
            deceased.

3.   Where is the jurisdiction of the Coroner?
            The YCCO assumes jurisdiction of those deaths that occur within the limits of York County. The
            Coroner, Chief Deputy or Deputy Coroner may conduct interviews, serve subpoenas or otherwise
            conduct investigative procedures outside of the county as long as the death occurred within
            the county.

4.   Who notifies the Coroner's Office of a death?
           Emergency Medical Service providers, Police Investigators or Healthcare Facility Personnel 
           typically notify the YCCO when a death occurs.

           The general public should call 911 to report a death. If the decedent is under hospice care, it 
           is appropriate for the family to contact the funeral director of their choice or hospice 
           nurse without calling 911.

 5.   Are all deaths reported to the Coroner?
           No. In York County, the following deaths are NOT reportable:
                Decedents who are in-patients of a hospital for at least (24) hours and die as the result of 
                ONLY natural causes.

                Decedents who die of ONLY natural causes as a resident of a skilled nursing facility or while 
                in hospice care.

           The following deaths ARE reportable to the Coroner in York County:

    •   All forms of criminal violence, unlawful acts or criminal neglect resulting in death.
    •   All accidents (motor vehicle accidents, home accidents, falls or industrial accidents).
    •   All suicides.
    •   All deaths caused or contributed to by drug/chemical overdose or poisoning.
    •   Sudden death of a person in apparent good health.
    •   Deaths unattended by a physician (i.e. decedent has not been under a physician’s care, or  
        physician or CRNP who had been treating decedent prior to death had not treated decedent 
        for illness decedent is thought to have succumbed to).
    •   Death of a decedent in York County who has been treated by an out-of-state physician who is not 
        licensed in PA and therefore cannot sign the PA death certificate.
    •   Deaths in a prison or penal institution.
    •   Deaths while in police custody.
    •   Deaths during or due to complications of diagnostic or therapeutic procedures (including operative
        or peri-operative) in which the death is not readily explainable on the basis of prior 
        disease.
    •   Any death in which trauma, falls or fractures, chemical injury, asphyxia, exposure, fire, drug 
        overdose or reaction to drugs or medical treatment was a PRIMARY or SECONDARY, DIRECT or 
        INDIRECT, CONTRIBUTORY, AGGRAVATING or PRECIPITATING cause of death.
    •   Deaths related to employment.
    •   Deaths occurring in a suspicious or unusual manner.
    •   Any death wherein the body is unidentified or unclaimed.
    •   Deaths known or suspected as due to contagious disease and constituting a public health hazard.
    •   Deaths of persons whose bodies are to be cremated, buried at sea or otherwise disposed of so as 
        to be thereafter unavailable for examination.
    •   Any sudden infant death.
    •   Stillbirth due to maternal trauma or drug abuse or in absence of physician or midwife.

6.   Are all Coroner records available to the public?
           No. The Coroner’s Investigative Report, Autopsy and Toxicology Reports are not public record.
           These reports contain information that is protected by Federal and State Laws.

           The View of Body (cause and manner of all deaths) are the only records that are made available
           to the public. State Law requires that ONLY the following information be made available for
           public view: Name of the decedent, cause and manner of death, age of the decedent, date and
           time of death, Coroner's Name and Seal.

 7.   How do I obtain a Coroner's Report? Autopsy Report? Toxicology Report?
           One copy of each report is made available to the legal next of kin, providing that the
           investigation is complete and the case is closed.

           Insurance or Legal requests for reports may be made in writing on company or law firm
           letterhead and must accompany a written authorization release from the legal next of
           kin.

8.   What is the cost for reports?
           One copy of each report is made available to the legal next of kin at no charge.

           A fee is charged for additional copies at the following rates:

  •   Coroner’s Investigative Report - $100.00
  •   Autopsy Report - $500.00
  •   Toxicology Report - $100.00

9.   Who can retrieve the personal effects recovered from a decedent?
           Personal effects are typically released to the funeral director along with the decedent.

           The legal next of kin, or legal designee, may pick up items not released to the funeral director
           during normal office hours and by appointment only.

           Recipient must present a valid government issued photo ID and sign a release.

10.  Do I need to identify or can I view my loved one in the morgue?
           No, due to biohazard and public health concerns, as well as insurance regulations, the general
           public is not permitted to enter the morgue facility, which is currently at York Hospital.

           If identification of a decedent is necessary, additional forensic methods will be utilized.

           Arrangements to view a decedent should be made with the funeral director handling the final
           disposition. Funeral homes will work with families who wish to view the decedent.

 

 



 

  1. What are the duties of the Coroner?
The York County Coroner’s Office (YCCO) investigates the facts and circumstances of deaths that occur within the county. The purpose of the investigation is to determine the cause of any such death and to determine whether or not there is sufficient reason to believe that any such death may have resulted from criminal acts or criminal neglect of persons other than the deceased.