Autopsy Reports

Final Reports of Autopsy can take weeks to several months to prepare due to the detailed studies that may be performed during the autopsy procedure. All Final Reports of Autopsy are distributed to the State’s Attorneys Office per 18 V.S.A. § 505. In certain circumstances, such as cases in which there is an ongoing criminal investigation, the state’s attorney has jurisdiction over the distribution of the autopsy findings.

Confidentiality of Autopsy Reports

In compliance with the Privacy Rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner records are confidential and are released with the written consent of the legal next-of-kin or personal representative. The priority of next-of-kin is summarized as follows:

  1. Spouse of the decedent
  2. Adult children of the decedent 
  3. Custodian/guardian of minor children of the decedent 
  4. Parent of the decedent 
  5. Adult sibling of the decedent 
  6. Grandparent of decedent 
  7. Individual possessing Durable Power of Attorney (letter appointing Durable Power of Attorney from Court)
  8. Legal guardian of the decedent (letter appointing guardianship from the Court)
  9. Administrator or Executor of the decedent’s estate (letter of appointment from Court)
  10. Fiduciary of decedent (letter of Fiduciary from Court)

Families wishing to obtain a copy of the Final Report of Autopsy must complete the Statement of Next of Kin. The statement must be signed by the legal next-of-kin and be submitted to the Office of The Chief Medical Examiner. Final Reports of Autopsy are technical, and it is recommended that it be reviewed with a family physician.

Death Certificates

For information on how to obtain a copy of a Vermont Certificate of Death, visit Vermont Vital Records

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