nyc m.e.

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This might be a stupid question but i heard a few calls for a doa and ems is dispatched along with an rmp and a police sergent. Shouldnt a coroner come to take the body instead of a bus? And how are coroners vans dispatched?
 

MStep

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An EMS crew is always dispatched to a potential DOA. An EMT must "pronounce" the person dead before the coroner can remove the body. Providing that the body is not being removed by an undertaker, the coroner's vehicle (the "meat wagon") is dispatched over the NYC 800 MHz trunked system on one of the OCME (Office Of The Chief Medical Examiner) talk-group channels.
 

tbendick

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Just a side note. If the body is in public view then EMS will take the body. Not in pubic view then the OCME van will come and get it when needed. You still have some times a funeral home may come as well if the person was under MD care and they will sign off.
 

wfiedelman

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I was a Medical Investigator in the Office of Chief Medical Examiner [OCME] in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s under CMEs Milton Helpern, Dominick Di Maio, and Michael Baden. Before the "morgue wagon" responded to a DOA to pick up the body and bring it to 520 First Avenue in Manhattan (the location of the OCME) or to the county mortuary ("morgue," located for example, at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn), a Medical Investigator first responded to the scene of death if the case was reported by the NYPD to the OCME and the OCME clerk on call determined that the death was a "medical examiner's case" (death under suspicious circumstances or when not attended by a physician within 30 days and certain other criteria). The Medical Investigator examined the body, assessed the circumstances of the death, and either ordered the body to the mortuary or issued a death certificate at the scene. Medical Investigators at that time were all physicians, but I believe that lay investigators may now be used. New York City uses a medical examiner system; it does NOT use a "coroner" system. Coroners may be physicians but are often laymen (such as funeral directors). Anyway, since this is a radio forum, you may be interested to know some of the history behind the dispatching of Medical Investigators to the scene of death before the morgue wagon was called and responded. I legislated vigorously in the early 1970s for a radio dispatch system for Medical Investigators on call in Manhattan. The only notification system at that time was street pay phone, most of which did not work (this was long before cellular phones were available). It was not uncommon to have a DOA in lower Manhattan with another a few blocks away, but, with no radio notification, the Medical Investigator often drove way uptown to another DOA, only to have to go back downtown, wasting precious time and leading to many complaints about the slow response. I was able to get the OCME to install a transmitter/receiver at 520 First Avenue that was on the "Hospital Base" frequency -- at that time this was a low band VHF frequency somewhere in the 39 MHz range. It was connected the main radio via landline. Unfortunately, the OCME clerks were reluctant to use the radio at 520 First Avenue to call the Medical Investigator because they felt that, to do this, they should be upgraded in salary to radio technicians (believe it!!). In addition, the OCME borrowed its only Manhattan tour car with a radio (an old GE transceiver) from the Health and Hospitals Corporation or the Department of Health (I can't remember which one ran the show back then), so even if the on-duty clerk was willing to use the radio, there was often no radio in the tour car (and certainly none in the Medical Investigator's personal automobile, which was often used). I'm sure that the use of cellular phones now precludes the need for radio dispatching of Medical Investigators to the scenes of death. Actually, since some DOAs were "sensitive," I'm not sure that unscrambled radio transmissions were the best way to notify Medical Investigators to respond. Anyway, I thought you'd find this bit of history interesting.
 

comspec

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We recovered a floater one day. FDNY came pulled the body out of the water EMS "pronounced" then a parade of Detectives and Crime Scene Units came through to do the investigation. After all this was a very suspicous death.

Where I am going with all this, is when the ME came to take away the body and found it was lying on a dock and they had to climb stairs to get to it, EMS had to come back to "recover" the body from the dock to flat level land before the ME would take it.

As far as I can tell, no ivestigating was done by the ME at the scene. I am sure an Autospy was performed, but the "on-scene" investigation was by CSU and Homicide Detectives (quite a few of them in fact)

I thought it was relevant to the discussion, but then again maybe not.
 
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gothamite

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Here's an old, old story that's been around since at least the 1950's; I'll let you decide whether or not it's true.

A floater is pulled out at the Chelsea (NYC, Manhattan) docks. The Man on Post calls the Sergeant who calls the Detectives, ME's Office and everyone else. It's obvious to all that there are at least seven bullet holes in the body. The ME arrives, bends down to look at the corpse for a minute, stands up again and says "This guy's dead. Natural causes." One of the 10th Squad Detectives looks at him like he's from another planet and says "What do you mean "natural causes?!?' This guys been shot at least seven times!" The ME smiles and says "You're right. He was shot seven times so it's natural that he'd die."

Like I said, I'll let you decide.
 
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I handled a homicide last month (victim shot DOA with a single .22 caliber GSW to the head on a rooftop). EMS came & pronounced the vic & I started the necessary paperwork & notifications, which includes calling the ME's office for an investigator & a wagon. The boro Nightwatch (boro detective squad that works the midnight tour) came by, followed by Homicide, the duty captain & Crime Scene Unit. The ME came & did his examination of the body. He left & a couple hours later, the wagon arrives & takes the DOA to the morgue. Later on, I had to go down to the morgue myself & ID the body for case purposes. Usually, the whole process takes anywhere to 4-6 hours. The paperwork is nothing, the waiting game for the ME investigator & wagon is the worst!!
 

wfiedelman

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In addition to a poor communication system for notifying the "tour" Medical Investigator of a case, slow responses by the Medical Investigator were almost always the result of holding cases. When I worked as Medical Investigator in Manhattan, there were 4 boro tours in 24 hours: midnight to 6AM, 6AM to 11AM, 11AM to 4PM, and 4PM to midnight. The same investigator usually covered the second and third tour, so he/she was actually working from 6AM to 4PM. Most Medical Investigators did this as a part-time job; they either worked "full-time" in a hospital or in a practice setting. So, to avoid running all over town and interfering with their "real" job, they would wait until there were 2, 3, or even 4 DOAs requiring a scene investigation. The worst offenders were the midnight to 6AM investigators, who often told the OCME clerk to hold the cases until 5 or even 6AM so the investigator could get a good night's sleep. I don't know whether this is done today, but I doubt it under CME Charles Hirsch! To make matters worse, the morgue wagon could not respond to remove the body until the Medical Investigator completed his/her investigation and notified the clerk that the body was to be transported to the morgue. Because we depended mainly on street pay phones, we would often wait until 2, 3, or 4 scene investigations were completed before notifying the clerk. The clerk then had to notified the morgue, which in turn dispatched (or otherwise notified) the morgue wagon (the morgue wagons had radios on the "Hospital Base" frequency). The entire process could take hours, and there are stories about DAYS of waiting for a body to be removed from the scene of death. Here's one anecdote that's true: I responded to the scene of death in an SRO (single-room occupancy). I knocked on the door expecting the PO guarding the body to respond, but there was no answer to my knock. So I turned the door knob and the door opened. In the sparsely furnished room was a bed, in which an obviously dead body was lying. Lying in the bed right next to the DOA was a fully uniformed PO sound asleep!
 
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