Frequently Asked Questions

 

  1. What do I do when a loved one dies and is taken to the Medical Examiner's Office?
  2. How long do I have to make funeral arrangements for my loved one?
  3. What if I can't afford to make my loved one's funeral arrangements? Are there any agencies that can give me assistance?
  4. Is it necessary for me to come to the Medical Examiner's Office to identify a body?
  5. Will personal effects be released to the family?
  6. Are autopsies done on all cases?
  7. Do I have to pay for an autopsy?
  8. Will an autopsy interfere with an open casket viewing?
  9. Who can get a copy of the autopsy report?
  10. How can I get a copy of the autopsy report?
  11. Where can I obtain a copy of the Death Certificate?
  12. How can I become a medical examiner?
  13. What types of employment opportunities are there at the Medical Examiner's Office?

1. What do I do when a loved one dies and is taken to the Medical Examiner's Office?

You should select a funeral home and notify them that the case is being handled by the Medical Examiner's Office. The funeral home will have the next of kin sign an authorization to release the body to the funeral home you have selected. Once the autopsy has been performed, this office will contact the funeral home to pick up the body.

Back to top

2. How long do I have to make funeral arrangements for my loved one?

Under the state law (Health and Safety Code, Title 8, Death and Disposition of the body, Chap. 711.002, (a-1)), the next of kin has six (6) days to make the decedent's funeral arrangements after the date of being notified of the death.

Back to top

3. What if I can't afford to make my loved one's funeral arrangements? Are there any agencies that can give me assistance?

The Community Resources division of the Economic & Community Development Department offers assistance to people who qualify. Their office phone number is 210-335-0757.

Back to top

4. Is it necessary for me to come to the Medical Examiner's Office to identify a body?

No, we are unable to allow viewing of decedents at our office for any reason. Viewing is best conducted at the funeral home or mortuary after your loved one is released from the Medical Examiner's office.

Back to top

5. Will personal effects be released to the family?

Yes. For the convenience of the family, personal effects are usually released to the funeral home.

Back to top

6. Are autopsies done on all cases?

The decision to perform an autopsy is made by the Medical Examiner on duty. An autopsy is performed if it is deemed necessary in order to determine the cause of death. In many cases an external examination and toxicology screen is sufficient.

Back to top

7. Do I have to pay for an autopsy?

No. Any autopsy performed by the Medical Examiner's Office is done at the discretion of the Medical Examiner.

Back to top

8. Will an autopsy interfere with an open casket viewing?

No. If there were no injuries before the autopsy, the incisions from the autopsy are easily covered by clothing.

Back to top

9. Who can get a copy of the autopsy report?

An autopsy report is public record. Anyone can come by and request a copy or mail in a request. There is a $25.00 fee for a copy of the report and a $35.00 for a certified copy. However, a Request for Public Information form must be submitted, either by mail, fax, or in person.

Back to top

10. How can I get a copy of the autopsy report?

You can mail a request to Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office, Attn: Records Section, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope. The fee for a copy is $25.00, or $35.00 if you would like a certified copy. Do not send cash. Make check or money order payable to: Bexar County Medical Examiner.

  1. Medical Examiner's Office

    Physical Address
    7337 Louis Pasteur Drive
    San Antonio, TX 78229

Example: I would like a copy of the autopsy report for (Name). He/she died on (Date). 

If you would like to come in person, visit our Office Location page for directions to our office.

Back to top

11. Where can I obtain a copy of the Death Certificate?

Death certificates may be obtained from the Bureau of Vital Statistics in the county where the death occurred or from the funeral home.

Back to top

12. How can I become a medical examiner?

To become a Medical Examiner, you must obtain a high school diploma, a bachelors degree, a medical degree (MD or DO), three to four years training in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology, one year of training in Forensic Pathology, and Board Certification from the American Board of Pathology.

Back to top

13. What types of employment opportunities are there at the Medical Examiner's Office? 

Visit the Careers in a Medical Examiner’s Office page for more details about employment opportunities at the BCMEO.

Back to top