Why is the medical examiner involved?

In Iowa, any death that is violent, suspicious, or sudden and unexpected must be investigated by an appointed medical examiner. This includes any death that is not attended by a physician.

What do I do next when a loved one dies?

You will need to select a funeral home to assist you with making funeral arrangements and coordinating the final disposition of your loved one’s remains. Once you have chosen a funeral home, the...

Why is a forensic autopsy necessary if the cause of death seems obvious, such as a gunshot wound?

A complete autopsy examination can help determine details necessary for determining the manner of death and provide information that may need to be presented in court. For example, details in an...

How does the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner help families?

A properly completed death certificate is usually necessary to claim insurance, receive government benefits, settle the estate, and pursue any civil or criminal legal action.


What if I have questions regarding the autopsy?

If you have questions or concerns about the autopsy process, please call us at 515-725-1400 during business hours (8:00 am–4:30 pm). We are here to answer any questions you may have.

May a family refuse a forensic autopsy?

No. Forensic autopsies are necessary to answer medicolegal questions that are deemed in the public’s interest or to address a question of law.

The Iowa Office of the State...

Who can request that a forensic autopsy be performed?

County medical examiners, county attorneys, and the state medical examiner have the statutory authority and obligation to request that a forensic autopsy be performed in cases where death is...

What is the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner (IOSME)?

The IOSME includes medical doctors (forensic pathologists), investigators, and other staff. We provide forensic autopsy and investigative services when requested to do so by county medical...


Printed from the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner website on November 28, 2022 at 7:33pm.