At the DeKalb County Medical Examiner's Office, we work diligently around the clock to provide the best services to you and your family during your time of need.
Our office is located in Decatur and provides services to the local municipalities of Atlanta (eastern portion), Avondale, Brookhaven, Clarkston, Chamblee, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, and Stone Mountain.
The medical examiner investigates deaths required by law to be reported to the DeKalb County Medical Examiner's Office and fall under the jurisdiction of the Georgia Death Investigation Act, O.C.G.A. § 45-16-24. As required by this law, death cases are reported seven days a week, 24 hours a day, including weekends and all holidays.
A Medical Examiner's Office inquiry is required on all deaths that come within the purview of the law. This investigation must start immediately. The inquiry may include, but is not limited to:
- Obtaining a detailed history on the decedent and the circumstances surrounding the event
- Scene investigation
- Evidence collection
- Scene reconstruction
- External examination
- Limited dissection or autopsy
- Post-autopsy investigation including laboratory studies
Once the cause and manner of death are determined, a death certificate is issued.
In an effort to improve the system of death investigation, DeKalb County transitioned from a coroner system to a medical examiner system through a referendum. The change was initiated by a DeKalb County Grand Jury in 1978 and approved by voters in 1980. DeKalb County became the second county in the State of Georgia to abolish the office of the coroner and adopt the appointed office of the Medical Examiner. Fulton County was the first, followed by Cobb and Gwinnett.
The Medical Examiner serves the community by utilizing the knowledge of forensic science and medicine to investigate deaths that constitute a concern to the health and safety of the public. There are a variety of reasons why an accurate determination of cause and manner of death are important:
- The proper administration of justice by collecting evidence used in criminal and civil proceedings.
- A thorough medicolegal investigation may provide for the expeditious settlement of insurance claims and estates, which is often crucial for the surviving family.
- Additionally, but not limited to: recognizing epidemic threats to public health, defective products, dangerous occupational environments, deaths due to therapeutic intervention, and ensuring that law enforcement officials do not engage in or are not unjustly accused of excessive force.