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Delined Jurisdiction | Print |

After receiving a report of a death, a determination will be made by a Medical Investigator as to whether or not to assume jurisdiction (further investigate the case in order to certify the cause and manner of death). The Medical Examiner's Office will assume jurisdiction of all cases involving any type of trauma (injury or poisoning), accident, or violence, or, if based on the decedent’s age, medical history, and circumstances of death, the death is sudden, unexpected, and not reasonably explained. Cases that are reported to the Medical Examiner that do not result in further investigation follow a Decline Jurisdiction (DJ) procedure. These cases most frequently are those in which the deceased was not recently seen by a physician but a significant medical history exists and death is almost certainly due to natural causes. Cases are also declined when circumstances indicate that the death should have been reported to the medical examiner or coroner of another county because the incidents leading to death occurred in another county.

The Medical Examiner's Office applies a rather narrow interpretation of the legislative language about people who come to their death suddenly when in apparent good health, and without medical attendance preceding death (A Georgia Death Investigation Act). If both conditions (lack of medical care and apparent good health) apply, the Medical Examiner's Office will usually take jurisdiction. If one or both conditions do not apply, the case may be placed in the DJ category. For all DJ cases (except those that should have been reported to another county), a prerequisite is that the FCME must be able to locate a physician who has knowledge of the patient's medical history and is able to reasonably certify death as being due solely to natural causes (disease and/or aging process). Thus, we try to locate the deceased’s attending physician. Medical attendance is defined as having a physician (physician of record) responsible for a person's care. It does not mean that the physician has to be present at the time of death, nor does the physician have to have seen the patient recently.

A record of all deaths reported to FCME is kept on file in the Medical Examiner's Office. Each DJ case is given a number and basic details are documented in a case report.


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Fulton County Medical Examiner

430 Pryor Street SW
Atlanta, Georgia 30312
Phone: 404-613-4400
Fax: 404-613-2463
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