1. bicksd4
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    bicksd4 New Member

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    Question about procedures after a fatal automobile accident

    Discussion in 'Research' started by bicksd4, Aug 3, 2012.

    Hi there. I'm brand-new here. I signed up because this looks like a good place to come when I get stuck with writing questions.

    I was writing a bit of story where a girl loses her mother to a one-car accident. I've never lost anyone to a car crash myself, so I don't know how the general procedure goes for the family immediately after the fact. Would her husband be asked to identify the body? Would it involve a night spent at the police station?
     
  2. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    When at all possible they try not to declare the person dead until at the hospital. Especially if the person was an organ donor. At which point the doctors take over. I've not dealt with it at my hospital that I work at and I'm kind of rusty on the notification of death policy, but I can check again when I get back there. As a volunteer EMT though, I have been on scene of multiple deaths. Most had family present before we ever arrived so they knew when time of death was called. It's call small town and everybody has a pager.
     
  3. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    in a large city its a little diffrent. ofthen we bring them to the hospital for the doc to declare. ( EMT NYC)
    generly the relatives do not find out untill later ( i have never had the vic's family be at the scean). they go off the name on the idea but generly their is a request to id the body incase some information is wrong

    you are not going to spend the night at the police station unles they suspect foul play. the bodies are held in the mourge for the city or hospital.
     
  4. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Best place to look for that information will be the plethora of CSI sites on line (and I don't mean the TV show.). There are lots of sources of information available to crime scene investigators on the subject, it just takes some research. I could tell you how to handle it myself from a violent crime scene investigation class i've taken. If you have any questions, shoot me a PM.
     
  5. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    BF, not sure how it works where you're at but they taught us that no one can declare a person dead in our area until the MD/ME makes the official reading. I'm sure it's different per jurisdiction and state thought. Maybe it's different when it's the police instead of Fire/Rescue involved.
     
  6. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    EMS can declare after contacting the medical director. After providing vitals *aka none*, length of CPR and any other interventions we have made, the medical director will give the command to cease compressions and for the medic to call time of death. My first call after my EMT-B cert was a cardiac arrest. Medical director gave the go, the medic looked at me and said "call it". I looked at him and said "I'm not doing that". It was out of my scope of practice and as a basic level I could have lost my certification for such a silly thing. We all knew he was dead, but only the medic could call it.
     
  7. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    makes sense. I think it works differently for CSI's.
     
  8. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    On scene unless there are signs of lividity or obvious signs of death such as grey matter and crushed open head wounds, EMS would still be called to the scene. In the examples I gave, there would be no official ToD until the medical examiner was finished with the autopsy.
     
  9. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    exactly, but ToD really is only truly accurate if you were looking at the clock at the exact moment. for EMT's that's fairly easy I'd say, for CSI's...not so :(
     
  10. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    RIght, that's why they go to the medical examiner. They can get a rough estimate of ToD.
     
  11. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Here in New Zealand the police would generally come to the door assuming the family didn't already know, to inform the family of the accident. The police would generally bring with them one of the community support officers. Assuming the person has died and they know it, a formal identification would be made at the morgue, probably the following day. Don't forget, even if the driver is not at fault, there is still an investigation to be done, which will likely look at cause of death, alcohol / drugs in the blood stream, and maybe a full autopsy. They would be looking for things like stroke or a heart attack that could have caused the crash. You don't really want family members around during that.

    However, if the death goes somewhat differently and the person is brought to the hospital still alive, the police will likely escort the family to the hospital as quickly as possible. There, depending on the medical procedures being carried out, the immediate family may get to say good bye directly and in the process formally identify the deceased.

    Often the identification will involve family members bringing personal effects with them, particularly photographs and medical histories if they have them. The ID in many cases, and don't forget car crashes are traumatic events and bodies may be less than identifiable, will depend on personal effects, ID's in wallets, jewellery, a knowledge of scars etc. Sometimes personal effects, e.g. hair brushes, for DNA comparison may be required.

    Hope that helps.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    crime scene investigators have nothing to do with the people involved other than collecting evidence and noting where they are/were before and during the event... only a medical examiner or doctor can determine/pronounce time of death and officially determine cause of death, not a csi...
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Also, unlike TV, CSIs don't form theories. Doing so would bias their evidence collection, and would be unprofessional in the extreme. They collect whatever evidence is available, based on their professional knowledge of crime scene procedures. They may also collect additional evidence or order specific tests at the request of the district attorney's office.

    There is, of course, no defense attorney at this stage, because there is no defendant yet.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    they also do not go along with police with weapons out, to apprehend a suspect... and do not interrogate suspects or witnesses, which is strictly the responsibility of the detectives or arresting officers...
     

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