Question: What happens if the coroner is involved? Can I still view the deceased and take them home?
Pamela answers: Most deaths in New Zealand are not deemed suspicious or sudden deaths therefore they are certified by a doctor. If a doctor was treating your loved one for any reason, and, if the doctor is satisfied the death is neither sudden or suspicious, the coroner would not have to be notified. However, if this is not the case, the coroner will be notified.
Once the coroner becomes involved, your loved one will remain under their instruction until the coroner is satisfied they have established the cause of death.
If your loved one has passed away elsewhere other than a hospital or rest home it is likely the coronial appointed funeral director will arrive to transport your loved one. You are not obliged to remain under the care of that funeral director, you are welcome to appoint a different funeral home if you wish.
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It is important to get in touch with your preferred funeral director as soon as possible. At Brian Darth Funeral services, we would then work through any questions family members have to enable us to support them through the coronial process.
We would then need to wait for the coroner to release the deceased into our care prior to family members being able to commence viewings.
Also, if your loved one, upon the coroner's instructions, has had a post-mortem, family are still able to view and/or, take them home.
As with any passing, whether the deceased have had a post-mortem or not, we do need to wait for the doctor or coroner to sign all relevant paperwork before we are able to take over care of your loved one. At Brian Darth Funeral Services, regardless of whether death occurs at 2am or 2pm, upon request, we endeavour to commence care as soon as possible.
If a death is deemed to be a Coroner's case, it can be difficult to provide family with a precise timeframe in which we can take over care. This may also (at times) be delayed due to the medical examination being complicated as there are times when other medical/specialist involvement is necessary. Unfortunately this all takes time, and can be very difficult for family, however, this does not prevent Brian or I from being with the family supporting them until such time as the deceased is released.
If you have any questions about this or anything else please do come down and see me or Brian at the funeral home on Nash Rd and we will happily discuss your queries with you.
Pamela and Brian Darth of Brian Darth Funeral Services answer questions on funerals in this monthly column. Send questions, care of the Stratford Press. Questions will be answered in this column only. Private correspondence will not be entered into.