Vermont law created a statewide medical examiner system back 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 cadre of advanced emergency medical service technicians, paramedics and nurses in addition to physicians.
- Chief Medical Examiner - Steven Shapiro, MD
- Deputy Chief Medical Examiner - Elizabeth A. Bundock, MD, PhD
- Local Medical Examiner Coordinator - Lauri McGivern, F-ABMDI
- Division Administrator – Angela Gerace
- Medical Records Specialist - Karen Dean
- Assistant Medical Examiners - Approximately 60 individuals statewide whose backgrounds include service as doctors, nurses and advanced emergency medical technicians.
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. 18 V.S.A. § 508
Assistant medical examiners are usually the first-contact people for death notification. Duties include triaging calls, gathering initial information, visiting death scenes, and working with local law enforcement, state’s attorneys, emergency services, hospitals, families, etc. Once primary information is obtained, the local examiner will consult with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. In short, these professionals are the OCME first responders.
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- 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)