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Handling and Care of Human Remains | Print |

All human remains, regardless of their state of preservation will be handled with dignity. When an autopsy examination is required by the investigating Medical Examiner to accurately certify the cause and manner of death, this autopsy will be performed expeditiously and without unnecessary delay. Every effort is taken to avoid disfigurement of the body unless special procedures are necessary to establish identification (as might occur when it is necessary to remove the jaws and teeth for identification in a severely burned body), or to accurately determine the cause and manner of death or collect needed evidence. Every attempt will be made to prepare and cleanse the body for prompt release to the funeral director for further body preparation, embalming, and burial or other disposition.

After the autopsy examination has been completed, it is the policy of this office to release all remains that have not been retained for diagnostic or evidentiary purposes. Once the examination is complete, the funeral home which has been designated by the surviving family as a responsible agent for disposition of the human remains will be notified as soon as possible.

In most instances, bodies are released within 24 hours of when they arrive at the medical examiners center. In some instances, we are entitled by law to keep the remains for longer periods if they are needed for further evaluation for identification or evidence purposes. As required by law, we release the remains to the legally entitled person after we have completed our inquiry, unless otherwise directed by a court having proper authority.

There are rare instances where criminal action is responsible for the death and a defendant's attorney appeals to the Medical Examiner to retain the body. Upon such a request, consultation will occur with the District Attorney's Office and we will follow instruction provided by the court.


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Fulton County Medical Examiner

430 Pryor Street SW
Atlanta, Georgia 30312
Phone: 404-613-4400
Fax: 404-613-2463
email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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