Procedure for Reporting Deaths

Medical Examiner
Dennis J. Chute, M.D. Chief Medical Examiner

Deaths should be reported promptly to avoid delays in official investigations. All reported cases are given a specific Medical Examiner identifying number.

To report a death call the 24/7 Hotline (845) 431-9177.

If the death occurs in a hospital or nursing facility, a Medical Examiner Death Investigator will call the person reporting the death.  The Investigator will request information including:

  • Name of the deceased
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Home address
  • Next of kin
  • Date and time of death
  • Medical history
  • Circumstances of death

The Investigator will assign a Medical Examiner Case number and inform as to the disposition of the case. For more information on Case Disposition, please see the "Case Disposition" section below.

If the death occurs in a hospital, the Investigator may ask whether the New York Organ Donor Network has been contacted and whether pre-transfusion blood samples have been placed on hold.

If the death occurs at any other location, the Investigator will respond to the scene of death, determine time of death, gather information from law enforcement personnel and family/friends at the scene, and either release the body or make arrangements for transport to the Dutchess County Medical Examiner's Office.

Case Disposition:
Refers to the decision as to whether jurisdiction is accepted by the medical examiner or not. There are two possibilities:

Case accepted:

  • The case requires an autopsy/examination by the medical examiner and the body will be transported to the Dutchess County Medical Examiner's Office.
  • The body is released, but a Medical Examiner’s Death Certificate will be issued (certified case).
  • The case will be handled as a consult (old case, live victim, etc.).

Case declined (no case): 

  • The death is due exclusively to natural disease, does not require further investigation by the Medical Examiner, and is released to the funeral home chosen by the family.


A. K. Vaidian, MD, MPH,Commissioner of Behavioral & Community Health A. K. Vaidian, MD, MPH
Commissioner of Behavioral & Community Health
Dutchess County Seal