Oklahoma Medical Examiner's office: At a glance

State law dictates exams for all sudden, violent, unexpected and suspicious deaths. Of nearly 22,000 bodies examined last year, 1,200 were autopsied.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Published: March 31, 2013
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ME's office, at a glance

Oklahoma is one of 16 states with a centralized medical examination system.

The agency is tasked with investigating sudden, violent, unexpected and suspicious deaths, from examining the death scene to reviewing medical records, performing autopsies and determining the manner and cause of death.

The agency is overseen by the Board of Medicolegal Investigations and performs autopsies and examinations at offices in Oklahoma City and in Tulsa.

State law dictates certain deaths must be reported to the agency:

• Violent deaths, including homicide, suicide and accidental, including criminal abortions.

• Deaths by suspicious, unusual or unnatural means.

• Deaths related to disease that might constitute a public health threat.

• Unattended deaths.

• Deaths due to unexplained coma.

• Medically unexpected deaths that occur during therapeutic procedure.

• The death of any incarcerated person.

• The death of people whose bodies are to be cremated, buried at sea, transported out of state or otherwise made unavailable for pathological study.

Of nearly 22,000 bodies examined in Oklahoma last year, 1,200 were autopsied, according to agency data.

Zeke Campfield, Staff Writer



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