Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Medical Examiner's Office

Reportable Deaths

The office of the Dane County Medical Examiner is established by and operates under provisions of the Wisconsin State Statutes and Administrative Rules.  The following deaths must be reported to our office:

  • All deaths in which there are unexplained, unusual, or suspicious circumstances
  • All homicides
  • All suicides
  • All accidental deaths
  • All maternal deaths following an abortion
  • All deaths due to poisoning, whether homicidal, suicidal, or accidental
  • All deaths where an injury has possibly contributed to the cause of death, whether the injury is or is not the primary cause of death and regardless of the interval of the time between the injury and the date of death.
  • Where no physician or accredited practitioner is willing to act as the medical certifier of the death.
  • When the physician caring for the decedent refuses to sign the death certificate.
  • When after reasonable efforts, a physician is not available to certify the death as required within 6 days following the pronouncement of death or sooner under circumstances which the Medical Examiner determines to be an emergency.
  • All deaths occurring while the person is in the custody of a law enforcement agency, state/federal department of corrections, or any death involving actions of a law enforcement officer.
  • All deaths in the emergency room or outpatient area of a health care facility that occur within 24 hours of admittance. 
  • All deaths associated with a diagnostic, anesthetic, or therapeutic procedure.
  • All deaths of public health interest, including infectious disease, communicable conditions, and/or terrorism.
  • If a death is a miscarriage and 20 weeks or more have lapsed between the mother's last menstrual period and delivery, or stillbirth weighs 350 grams and the delivery is unattended by a physician or practitioner.
  • All deaths occurring in a place other than a hospital or nursing home that are not registered with a Hospice Program licensed by the State Department of Health and Social Services, HSS 131.
  • All deaths of a child under the age of 17 years, unless a physician certifies the manner and cause of death as natural.
  • All deaths attributable entirely or in part to work place factors.
  • All cases where human or unidentified remains are discovered outside of a cemetery or documented burial plot.