Chapter 2.74
DEPARTMENT OF THE MEDICAL EXAMINER

Sections:

2.74.010    Office of medical examiner created.

2.74.020    Definitions.

2.74.030    Authority and functions.

2.74.040    Appointment of chief medical examiner.

2.74.050    Qualifications of chief medical examiner.

2.74.060    Duties of medical examiner.

2.74.061    Unclaimed deceased persons.

2.74.062    Payment for indigent deceased.

2.74.070    Duties of the coroner assigned to county executive.

2.74.080    Severability.

2.74.090    Effective date.

2.74.010 Office of medical examiner created.

There is hereby created as an executive department a Snohomish county department of medical examiner. The department shall be responsible for the statutory functions of county coroner including but not limited to the performance of autopsies and the investigation of death, as authorized by the statutes of the state of Washington. The department shall include a chief medical examiner who shall be a pathologist certified or eligible for certification in forensic pathology; and such staff as are necessary to accomplish its duties. The department will be managed and administered by the chief medical examiner.

(Added Ord. 87-042, § 2, June 3, 1987).

2.74.020 Definitions.

The following definitions shall apply to terms used in this chapter:

(1) "Department" means the Snohomish county department of the medical examiner.

(2) "Chief medical examiner" means the chief medical examiner for Snohomish county.

(3) "County personnel system" means those statements of employment under the provisions of chapter 3.68 SCC and amendments thereto.

(4) "Indigent deceased" means a deceased individual for whom no kin is liable for the cost of preparation, care, and disposition under RCW 68.50.160 and assets sufficient to cover such costs cannot be obtained from the estate or other sources.

(Added Ord. 87-042, § 2, June 3, 1987; Amended Ord. 93-107, Oct. 6, 1993; Eff date Oct. 16, 1993).

2.74.030 Authority and functions.

The department shall perform the functions and duties of the coroner as set forth in chapter 36.24 RCW, chapter 68.08 RCW, and other statutes of the state of Washington as are applicable except as set forth in SCC 2.74.070. The department’s functions shall include but not be limited to:

(1) Jurisdiction over human remains, perform autopsies and perform all other functions as are authorized by statute.

(2) Receiving all statutory notices required by statute to be given to the coroner.

(3) The title coroner as used elsewhere in this code shall mean the chief medical examiner.

(Added Ord. 87-042, § 2, June 3, 1987).

2.74.040 Appointment of chief medical examiner.

The chief medical examiner shall be nominated and appointed by the executive with the advice and consent of the county council. The chief medical examiner shall serve at the pleasure of the executive and shall be subject to the county exempt personnel system.

(Added Ord. 87-042, § 2, June 3, 1987).

2.74.050 Qualifications of chief medical examiner.

The chief medical examiner shall be a physician licensed by the state of Washington and certified or eligible for certification in forensic pathology.

(Added Ord. 87-042, § 2, June 3, 1987).

2.74.060 Duties of medical examiner.

(1) The chief medical examiner may create divisions and reassign positions and functions within the department, PROVIDED That any budget transfers required by such actions are approved by the executive and the council and, PROVIDED FURTHER That personnel assignments and changes shall be made in conformance with the personnel rules and policies of Snohomish county.

(2) The chief medical examiner shall plan, coordinate and manage all operations of the department.

(3) The chief medical examiner shall certify the cause of death in cases under the medical examiner’s jurisdiction, sign death certificates, determine the need for autopsies and perform or cause to be performed autopsies as needed, investigate or cause to be investigated the cause of violent deaths or deaths resulting from accidents, homicides, suicides, or when the deceased was not under the care of a physician and perform all duties assigned to the coroner by the laws of the state of Washington now in effect or as hereafter amended, with the exception of those noted in SCC 2.74.070.

(4) The chief medical examiner may perform coroner’s inquests pursuant to RCW 36.24.020 through 36.24.120, except that he may appoint an attorney to hear inquests where the chief medical examiner is required to give testimony.

(5) The chief medical examiner may be assigned other duties from time to time by the Snohomish county executive.

(Added Ord. 87-042, § 2, June 3, 1987).

2.74.061 Unclaimed deceased persons.

Whenever anyone shall die within Snohomish county without making prior plans for the disposition of his or her body and there is no other person willing to provide for the disposition of the body, the chief medical examiner shall cause such body to be entrusted to a funeral home in the county where the body is found as provided in RCW 36.24.155.

(Added Ord. 93-107, Oct. 6, 1993; Eff date Oct. 16, 1993).

2.74.062 Payment for indigent deceased.

Snohomish county shall reimburse the cost of preparation, care, and disposition of indigent deceased according to a rate schedule prepared by the chief medical examiner and approved by the county council. The chief medical examiner shall review the rate schedule annually and propose changes as necessary to administer the schedule to the county council for its approval. Disposition shall be by cremation unless the chief medical examiner finds there to be an exceptional circumstance, such as an ongoing criminal investigation, that warrants some other disposition.

(Added Ord. 93-107, Oct. 6, 1993; Eff date Oct. 16, 1993).

2.74.070 Duties of the coroner assigned to county executive.

Those duties of the coroner described in RCW 36.24.010 and RCW 6.04.040 ff. giving power to the coroner to act as the county sheriff in certain instances shall be exercised by the Snohomish county executive.

(Added Ord. 87-042, § 2, June 3, 1987).

2.74.080 Severability.

If any provision of this chapter is held invalid, the remainder of the chapter shall not be affected.

(Added Ord. 87-042, June 3, 1987).

2.74.090 Effective date.

The effective date of this chapter is June 15, 1987.

(Added Ord. 87-042, § 2, June 3, 1987).