Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What should I do now?
A. As soon as possible,
select a funeral home and inform the funeral director that the death
is being handled by the Medical Examiner's office. Ask them to
please notify us. Our office does not select funeral homes,
nor do we make arrangements for the family.
Q: There are no funds for burial. What
can I do?
A. If the deceased or the
legal next of kin do not have sufficient funds for burial, the
alternative might be county disposition.
In these circumstances, proof of indigence is required.
Contact the County Department of Human Services for more
Q: Where will my relative/friend be
A. In most cases He/She will
be released to the funeral home of the family's choice. In
cases where the Law Enforcement
agency investigating the death has requested an Autopsy or more
tests are needed to determine a cause of death,
He/She will be transported to the morgue, located at Franciscan
Skemp Healthcare, 700 West Avenue South, La
Crosse. After completion of the autopsy and/or tests, He/She
will be released to the funeral home.
Q: Will an Autopsy be performed?
A. The Medical Examiner
investigator will decide if an autopsy is necessary to establish the
cause and circumstances of
death. We may not perform an autopsy if the cause of death can
be determined to be from "Natural Causes" and
the deceased has been under the care of a physician who knows the
medical history and will furnish the Medical
Examiner with information relative to the probable cause of death.
All infants under the age of 1 year of age must be
Q: Will autopsy reports be made
A. Yes. A completed
autopsy report will be sent to the listed next of kin by the Medical
Examiners office. If you would
like to obtain additional information regarding a case, contact the
Medical Examiner's office at (608) 785-9638
Q: Why is the Medical Examiner
A. State law requires the
Medical Examiner to inquire into and determine the circumstances,
manner, and cause of all sudden, violent, and unusual deaths, and
those deaths where the decedent has not been by a physician in 30
days prior to death. The Medical Examiner investigator will
conduct a preliminary investigation of the scene and the
circumstances. If a reasonable cause of death is determined by
this investigation then the body will we released. If more
tests are required, the body will be transported to a morgue
facility. A final Death Certificate will be issued
upon completion of the investigation.
Q: Where can I obtain a death
A. Death certificates are
filed with the Register of Deeds located in the La Crosse County
Administrative Center. If you require certified copies, they can be
ordered by the Funeral home or they may be purchased from the
Register of Deeds. Death certificates are generally filed
within 14 days of the date of death.
Q: How and when can Personal
Possessions be claimed?
A. Any personal possessions
in the custody of the Medical Examiners office, may be claimed by
the legal next of kin. To avoid any inconvenience to you,
please call the pager number for the Medical Examiner to make
arrangements to pick up any items. That number is (608)
789-1038. Sometimes personal possessions are taken into custody
by other law enforcement agencies at their request. You will
have to contact that agency.