OCSME

Glossary


Accident
The manner of death used when there is an unintentional death by injury that may or may not involve negligence by a victim or any other individual or an unnatural, violent death resulting from an event occurring by chance or unintended cause. It is usually a sudden, unexpected, and unforeseen occurrence and it may refer to physical injuries, toxic effects, or environmental conditions.

Autopsy
A medical procedure which involves the external and internal examination (dissection) to include the head and cranial contents, the neck, thorax, abdomen, and any other focus on, or within, the body which will contribute to determining the cause and manner of death. The autopsy may or may not also involve toxicology and microscopic examination of the tissues.

Case
A human death that is reported and/or investigated by the Medical Examiner’s Office.

Case File
An internal file containing all pertinent information including the autopsy report, investigatory reports, toxicology reports, body diagram(s), inventory of effects, body release form(s), and any other case specific information.

Cause of Death (COD)
The underlying disease or injury that directly eventuates in death.

Ethnicity
A self-reported designation of racial or ethnic origin in the following categories: White, Black, Hispanic, or Other.

Homicide
The manner of death used when there is a violent death from an intentional act of another individual, whether or not the individual responsible is prosecuted.

Manner of Death (MOD)
A classification of death based upon the cause of death and the circumstances surrounding the death. Categories include: Natural, Homicide, Suicide, Accident, Undetermined, and Pending.

Medical Examiner
A New Jersey licensed physician with specialized training in forensic pathology authorized by the State Medical Examiner to perform forensic examinations, autopsies, or views in the State of New Jersey and working under the auspices of a governmental medical examiner office.

Medicolegal Death Investigator (MLDI)
Under the direction of a medical examiner, investigates deaths reported to the office, collects information, medical specimens, documentation, and other data relevant to the matter of the decedent’s demise for the medical examiner to use in the determination of the cause and manner of death.

Medical Records
All charts, notes, files, or other data containing medical information obtained from physicians, clinics, hospitals, extended care facilities, or other sources who rendered care to the decedent (such records are confidential at all times).

Natural
The manner of death used when there is a nonviolent death resulting from disease.

Office of the Chief State Medical Examiner
The office and facilities utilized by the State Medical Examiner in the performance of his/her duties

Pending
A case where the death certificate has been issued with the cause and manner of death not specified and so indicated by the term “pending”.

Police Investigative Report
A report submitted by police to the medical examiner’s office that is in reference to a specific case giving pertinent background information to a determination of cause and manner of death.

Regional Medical Examiner
The chief medical examiner of a regional medical examiner facility who is responsible for medicolegal death investigation in multiple New Jersey counties.

Release Case (Non-Medical Examiner Case)
A death reported to the medical examiner that after review is found not to come under the jurisdiction of the medical examiner. These cases are not further investigated nor are decedent’s remains brought to the medical examiner facility.

Report of Investigation by Medical Examiner (RIME) A form completed for the purpose of reporting medical examiner findings to the State Medical Examiner and to the County Prosecutor as required by statutes and regulations.

Scene
The location of a fatality or injury. A case may have more than one scene (i.e. place of injury and place of death).

State Medical Examiner
A medical examiner appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate that heads the Office of the State Medical Examiner as designated by New Jersey law and has general oversight of medicolegal death investigation in the State.

Storage Case
A case that is reported to and released by the Medical Examiner’s office but at the time of the investigation, there is no family or family has not been able to be reached in order to claim the body.

Suicide
The manner of death used when a person takes their own life by any means, including chemical or physical, with the intent to cause self-harm or with reckless and wanton endangerment (i.e. Russian roulette).

Toxicology Report
The findings of toxicological or other chemical tests performed upon tissue or body fluid(s) from a decedent. Substances tested may include toxins, alcohol, drugs of abuse, prescription drugs, their metabolites, or clinical chemistries.

Undetermined
A case where there is insufficient information or evidence to express a cause and/or manner of death.

View
The external examination of the unclothed external surfaces of the decedent’s body with appropriate specimens acquired for toxicological screening and other ancillary testing as appropriate for the case that is performed by a medical examiner in accepted cases not requiring an autopsy