The Medical Examiner's Office has statutory authority under Vermont law to investigate deaths when a person dies:
- from violence; suddenly, when in apparent good health; unattended by a physician or a recognized practitioner of a well-established church; by casualty; by suicide; as a result of injury; in jail or prison or in a mental institution; in any unusual, unnatural or suspicious manner; or
- in circumstances involving a hazard to public health, welfare, or safety.
If the Chief Medical Examiner deems it necessary, and in the interest of public health, welfare and safety, or in the furtherance of the administration of the law, the Chief Medical Examiner has authority under Vermont law to order an autopsy to be performed.
The Chief Medical Examiner is authorized to appoint Regional Medical Examiners and Assistant Medical Examiners.
Regional Medical Examiners must be licensed doctors of medicine or osteopathy, geographically distributed throughout the State. Assistant Medical Examiners must have extensive experience in the medical profession, which may include medicine, nursing, emergency medical work, or any other medical profession deemed by the Chief Medical Examiner to provide sufficient health care experience. Assistant Medical Examiners must meet the training and certification requirements established by the Chief Medical Examiner and approved by the Commissioner of Health.
Vermont law prohibits any person in charge of the body of a person who died in Vermont from releasing the body for cremation until the person has received a certificate from the Chief, Regional, or Assistant Medical Examiner that the Medical Examiner has made personal inquiry into the cause and manner of death and is satisfied that no further examination or judicial inquiry concerning it is necessary.
For more information about the Medical Examiner Office:
Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
111 Colchester Avenue
Burlington, VT 05401