Death Investigation Systems

Death Investigation Systems

Vermont law created a statewide medical examiner system in the mid-1950s. From its inception, death investigation has relied upon community-based death investigators coordinated through a central system led by a forensic pathologist – the Chief Medical Examiner.

This system has evolved over the years from local investigators, the majority of whom were physicians, to today's statewide team of advanced emergency medical service technicians, paramedics and nurses in addition to physicians.

The Investigation Team
  • Chief Medical Examiner - Elizabeth A. Bundock, MD, PhD
  • Assistant Medical Examiner Coordinator - Lauri McGivern, F-ABMDI
  • Division Administrator – Ashley Spencer
  • Medical Records Specialist - Karen Dean
  • Assistant Medical Examiners - More than 30 ABMDI-certified medicolegal death investigators with backgrounds in emergency medical services and nursing. 


Assistant Medical Examiners

The Chief Medical Examiner is authorized to appoint Assistant Medical Examiners.

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. 18 V.S.A. § 508

Assistant Medical Examiners are the OCME first responders. They are the medicolegal death investigators who have initial contact with families and others on scene. Their main job is to gather information about the events leading up to the death, review medical histories, visit death scenes and work with families, local law enforcement, state’s attorneys, emergency services and others to help determine cause of death. The Assistant Medical Examiner works closely with the Chief Medical Examiner to determine jurisdiction and disposition of cases.

If you would like to be a local medical examiner, or would like more information: Contact Us

Reportable Cases
  • Any violence
  • Suddenly when in apparent good health
  • All accidents (falls, motor vehicles, industrial)
  • All suicides
  • All suspected drug overdose or chemical or poisoning
  • All persons in custody
  • Deaths during or due to complications of therapeutic procedure
  • Deaths related to employment
  • All possible threats to public health
  • Any suspicious or unusual deaths
  • Any one who dies within six months of sustaining a fracture (includes hip fractures in elderly)

If you are interested in becoming a local medical examiner, or would like more information: Contact Us