Under law, OCME has jurisdiction to investigate certain deaths that occur within New York City. An investigation may include an external examination of the decedent, or an autopsy, which is a complete external and internal examination of the decedent's body. The OCME generally does not disclose specific methods undertaken to reach a determination, nor does the agency typically release autopsy results.
Examinations take place daily at OCME's three Forensic Pathology Centers in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. Examinations are performed by medical examiners, with assistance from mortuary technicians, photographers, x-ray technicians, and other professionals. Approximately 30 medical examiners are on staff at OCME.
Upon completion of the examination, the medical examiner issues a death certificate that states the cause and manner of death.
Death certificates are filed with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Visit our Frequently Asked Questions for more information about how family members can obtain a death certificate and other information related to the investigation.
The OCME’s Office of Public Affairs (OPA) confirms when the agency is investigating a fatality, and releases cause and manner upon request.