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  • PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • TITLE VI COUNTIES AND COUNTY OFFICERS
  • CHAPTER 38 MEDICAL EXAMINERS AND INQUESTS
  • Section 3 Duty to report deaths; failure to report

Section 3. It shall be the duty of any person having knowledge of a death which occurs under the circumstances enumerated in this paragraph immediately to notify the office of the chief medical examiner, or the medical examiner designated to the location where the death has occurred, of the known facts concerning the time, place, manner, circumstances and cause of such death:

(1) death where criminal violence appears to have taken place, regardless of the time interval between the incident and death, and regardless of whether such violence appears to have been the immediate cause of death, or a contributory factor thereto;

(2) death by accident or unintentional injury, regardless of time interval between the incident and death, and regardless of whether such injury appears to have been the immediate cause of death, or a contributory factor thereto;

(3) suicide, regardless of the time interval between the incident and death;

(4) death under suspicious or unusual circumstances;

(5) death following an unlawful abortion;

(6) death related to occupational illness or injury;

(7) death in custody, in any jail or correctional facility, or in any mental health or mental retardation institution;

(8) death where suspicion of abuse of a child, family or household member, elder person or disabled person exists;

(9) death due to poison or acute or chronic use of drugs or alcohol;

(10) skeletal remains;

(11) death associated with diagnostic or therapeutic procedures;

(12) sudden death when the decedent was in apparent good health;

(13) death within twenty-four hours of admission to a hospital or nursing home;

(14) death in any public or private conveyance;

(15) fetal death, as defined by section two hundred and two of chapter one hundred and eleven, where the period of gestation has been twenty weeks or more, or where fetal weight is three hundred and fifty grams or more;

(16) death of children under the age of 18 years from any cause;

(17) any person found dead;

(18) death in any emergency treatment facility, medical walk-in center, child care center, or under foster care; or

(19) deaths occurring under such other circumstances as the chief medical examiner shall prescribe in regulations promulgated pursuant to the provisions of chapter thirty A.

A physician, police officer, hospital administrator, licensed nurse, department of children and families social worker, or licensed funeral director, within the commonwealth, who, having knowledge of such an unreported death, fails to notify the office of the chief medical examiner of such death shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars. Such failure shall also be reported to the appropriate board of registration, where applicable.