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    1. Where is my loved one being taken?
    2. Why is the Forsyth County Coronerís Office involved?
    3. Will an autopsy be performed?
    4. What is an autopsy?
    5. How long before my loved one is released from the Coroner's Office?
    6. Am I required to identify the body?
    7. Is viewing allowed?
    8. How will I get my loved one's personal possessions back?
    9. Will I still be able to have an open casket service if an autopsy is performed?
    10. Do I have to pay for an autopsy to be done?
    11. How long will it take before my loved one is released from the Forsyth County Coronerís Jurisdiction?
    12. Why are tubes and other medical devices left in place on the body?
    13. Who contacts the funeral home?
    14. How do I obtain a certified copy of the death certificate?
    15. When will the autopsy report be ready and how do I obtain a copy?
    16. What does ďPendingĒ mean on a death certificate?
    17. What should I do now?
    18. What if I can't afford funeral arrangements?
    19. What about military benefits?

    Q. Where is my loved one taken? Back To Top Of Page

    In most cases the deceased are released to a funeral home of the family's choice.  Should a funeral home be unavailable to receive the deceased, the Coronerís Office will transport to our county morgue.

    If further examination is required; autopsy; the deceased are transported to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations office in Decatur, Georgia.  Autopsies are performed by pathologists/forensic pathologists.  Upon completion of all investigations the Coronerís Office will release the deceased to the funeral home of the family's choosing.

    Q. Why is the Forsyth County Coronerís Office involved? Back To Top Of Page

    State Law requires the Coroner to be notified when a death occurs under certain circumstances, the Coroner performs an investigation and arrives at the cause and manner of death, and either completes or arranges the completion of the death certificate. Occasionally, more investigation is required, in which case a pending death certificate will be issued to allow funeral arrangements to be made in a timely manner. Georgia Law requires the County Coroner to investigate the circumstances and determine the cause and manner of death of all deaths that are:
    - Sudden, when a person is in apparent good health;
    - Not under the care of a physician;
    - Suspicious, unusual or unexplained;
    - The result of violence;
    - Unlawful or due to criminal neglect.

    Q. Will an autopsy be performed? Back To Top Of Page

    Autopsies are performed when additional investigation is needed to establish the cause and manner of death; autopsies are ALWAYS performed in suspected homicides. Staff pathologists or specialized forensic pathologists are used for autopsies. Each case is unique and handled respectfully on an individual basis. Family consent is not required for an autopsy to be performed; it is the authority of the coronerópossibly in consultation with a pathologistóto order an autopsy.

    Q What is an autopsy? Back To Top Of Page

    An autopsy is a post-mortem medical procedure that consists of a thorough examination of the body in order to determine or assist in determining the cause and manner of a person's death; it can also provide information on the presence of diseases or injuries that may have been contributing mortality factors. An autopsy is performed by a pathologist or forensic pathologist.

    Q. How long before my loved one is released from the Coroner's Office? Back To Top Of Page

    Each case is unique, but under normal circumstances a case not involving autopsy will result in release within 24 hours.
    Depending on what time of day the Forsyth County Coronerís office is notified and takes jurisdiction, the medical information available to the Coroner at that time, and the circumstances surrounding the death, the body may be released the same day or later on the next day. In cases of suspicious deaths or deaths that require further investigation, your loved oneís remains may be held for additional time.

    If an autopsy is required, the investigation may take considerably longer, particularly if identification of the individual is an issue. You may contact the Coroner's Office at (770) 205-3011 to inquire about the status of your case.

    Q. Am I required to identify the body? Back To Top Of Page

    Identity of the deceased is usually determined through methods other than visual identification by family or acquaintances, and a visual ID is not required. Only in very rare cases are such identifications required. In the majority of cases, visual identification is not required. If visual identification is required, you will be notified by the Coronerís office.

    Q. Is viewing allowed? Back To Top Of Page

    The Coroner's Office strongly discourages viewing prior to the deceased being released to a funeral home. Should a decedent require further investigation by the medical examiner; no viewing is permitted. This process is required for maintaining proper medical legal protection.

    Q How will I get my loved one's personal possessions back? Back To Top Of Page

    Personal effects that are on the body in a coroner's case are the jurisdiction of the Coroner's Office, while other personal effects that may be collected are part of the evidence collection of the involved law enforcement agency (e.g. city police department; Sheriff's Office). All coroner case personal effects are logged and accounted for, and are released with the body; there are specific chain-of-custody procedures for the release of valuables. Occasionally clothing will need to be stored as evidence or disposed of if it presents a biohazard.

    Q. Will I still be able to have an open casket service if an autopsy is performed? Back To Top Of Page

    YES Ė Autopsies are performed in a professional manner that does not interfere with the viewing of the deceased in a normal manner.

    Q. Do I have to pay for an autopsy to be done? Back To Top Of Page

    NO Ė There is no charge to the family for autopsies performed under the Coronerís jurisdiction.

    Q. How long will it take before my loved one is released from the Forsyth County Coronerís Jurisdiction? Back To Top Of Page

    Depending on what time of day the Forsyth County Coronerís office is notified and takes jurisdiction, the medical information available to the Coroner at that time, and the circumstances surrounding the death, the body may be released the same day or later on the next day. In cases of suspicious deaths or deaths that require further investigation, your loved oneís remains may be held for additional time.

    Q. Why are tubes and other medical devices left in place on the body? Back To Top Of Page

    Part of the autopsy is to investigate the proper application of therapeutic devices. Blood, soil and other material may sometimes not be allowed to be washed off as it may hinder the investigation.

    Q. Who contacts the funeral home? Back To Top Of Page

    Once you have selected a funeral home, please let them know that the body is under the jurisdiction of the Coroner. Once a funeral home is selected, you must call the Coronerís office as soon as possible to inform them of your choice. The Forsyth County Coronerís office will then contact the funeral home when the body is ready for release.

    Q. How do I obtain a certified copy of the death certificate? Back To Top Of Page

    The Coronerís office does not issue copies of the death certificate. Copies can be requested from the funeral home when arrangements are made. As a courtesy to the family, funeral homes offer to obtain the certificates from the Forsyth County Probate Court (770)781-2140. The Probate Court charges a fee for each copy obtained and any additional copies may be obtained directly from them. The State of Georgia charges $25.00 for the first copy and $ 5.00 for each additional copy of the death certificate.)

    Q. When will the autopsy report be ready and how do I obtain a copy? Back To Top Of Page

    Autopsy reports are generally available three(3) to four(4) months from the date of death. The results of Toxicology and other studies can take longer. One copy of the autopsy report is available at The Georgia Bureau of Investigation Open Records Department. Immediate next of kin means one of the following in this order: spouse, adult child, parent, brother/sister, niece/nephew. Please submit your request in writing to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations Open Records Office.
    Open Records Unit
    Georgia Bureau of Investigation
    3121 Panthersville Road
    Decatur, Georgia 30034
    Or
    Fax your request to 404-270-8529
    Or

    Email your request to OpenRecords@gbi.state.ga.us

    Q. What does ďPendingĒ mean on a death certificate? Back To Top Of Page

    Occasionally additional information, more extensive testing or further studies are required in order to accurately determine a cause and manner of death. A death certificate with ďpendingĒ as the cause of death still allows your family to make immediate funeral arrangements. An amended or final death certificate will be issued upon completion of the investigation and you will be notified when the final death certificate is ready.

    Q. What should I do now? Back To Top Of Page

    As soon as possible a funeral home must be selected to handle funeral arrangements for the deceased. These professionals are aware of the difficulties you are experiencing and the stresses that you are under, and will assist you with arrangements.

    When you contact the funeral director, advise them that the deceased is under the Coronerís jurisdiction. The funeral director will, in turn, contact our office and make arrangements to pick up your loved one.

     If you have any questions or if we can assist you, please call (770) 205-3011.

    Q. What if I can't afford funeral arrangements? Back To Top Of Page

    If your loved one did not have burial funds, the next-of-kin may ask for assistance in government and private sources. Your funeral home can provide you that information.

    Q. What about military benefits? Back To Top Of Page

    People who served in the Armed Forces may be entitled to veterans benefits. Seek more information from the Veterans Administration (VA) at www.cem.va.gov. Your funeral home will also have that information

     
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    1545 Dr Bramblett Road
    Cumming, GA
    FORSYTH COUNTY GOVERNMENTPhone: (770) 205-3011
    Fax: (770) 781-3148