Florida Statute 406.11(1)(c) requires that the cause and manner of death in the Death Registration Form completed by the attending physician be reviewed and approved by the medical examiner's office prior to such disposition (more information on jurisdiction page).
The Medical Examiner will not take jurisdiction because:
- The attending physician is on vacation or otherwise unavailable. In such cases death certification will be the responsibility of the covering physician pursuant to Florida Statute 382.008(3). The covering physician cannot refuse to care for a patient who became ill because he/she "did not know the patient" or "had not seen him/her recently". It would be the covering physician's responsibility to review the medical records and/or interview the patient and family, and determine the appropriate course of treatment. Similarly, the other activities of attending physician's practice, including death certification, are now the covering physician's responsibilities. See Florida Department of Health Physician Tutorial.
- The attending physician does not "feel comfortable" or does not know why he/she died." Death certification is a responsibility of the attending physician when the death does not fall under the medical examiner's jurisdiction as stated in Florida Statute 406.11. All that is required is a certification of the cause of death "to the best of my knowledge" as stated on the death certificate. It is merely an opinion reflecting one's best medical judgment.
- The attending physician is not willing to sign the death certificate. Physicians are sometimes under the erroneous impression that if they refuse to sign a death certificate the Medical Examiner must do so. This is not the case. Jurisdiction will not be accepted unless the death falls under circumstances described in Florida Statute 406.11. Various professional and legal penalties apply when physicians refuse to carry out their responsibilities.
Funeral homes requesting Cremation Authorizations forward a request electronically to the Medical Examiner's Office through the State of Florida's Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS). The treating physician must provide the proper information to the funeral home regarding the cause of death. If information is incomplete or the cause of death is improperly certified, the request will be rejected by our office.
There is a fee for issuing a cremation authorization for cases that were not under the jurisdiction of the medical examiner's office. The current fee is $50.00. See Lee County Ordinance 15-07.
Funeral homes will be invoiced after the end of each month. Unpaid invoices will be charged a late fee. See Lee County External Fees Manual, External Fee No. 17-2.