Appendix A -
Deaths Which Must Be Reported to the Coroner
Deaths are reported to the coroner under the Coroners Act 1962
(rules of law)
; in addition, there are local rules which require that other deaths must be reported
(rules of practice).
Deaths reportable under
rules of law
- Sudden, unexpected or unexplained deaths.
- Where the appropriate registered medical practitioner
cannot sign a medical certificate of the cause of death (i.e. a deceased person
was not seen and treated within one month before death, or the cause of death is
unknown or death may be due to an unnatural cause).
- Even where the deceased had been attended by a
registered medical practitioner for a documented illness, if the doctor is not
satisfied in relation to the cause of death or death has occurred suddenly or
unexpectedly, it must be reported.
- Sudden infant death. Although the doctor may believe
that an infant has died of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS, "cot
death"), such diagnosis can only be made following a postmortem
examination: this applies also to so-called "sudden adult death
- Where a death was directly or indirectly due to
unnatural causes, (regardless of the length of time
between the injury and death), including:
- road traffic accident;
- any accident in the home, workplace or
- any physical injury;
- falls and fractures;
- fractures in the eldery;
- drug overdose or drug abuse;
- neglect, including self-neglect;
- burns or carbon monoxide poisoning;
- starvation (including anorexia nervosa);
- exposure and hypothermia;
- poisoning from any cause – occupational,
therapeutic, accidental, suicidal, homicidal and also food
- firearms injuries.
- Death resulting from an industrial or occupational
disease or accident.
- Deaths which are directly or indirectly the result of
any surgical or medical treatment or any procedure. Where such treatment or
procedure may have contributed in any way to death, the matter must be reported
to the coroner regardless of the time that has elapsed between the event and
death. Any allergic reaction to a drug administered therapeutically, and any
toxic reaction or side-effect of a drug which may have caused or contributed to
death must be reported.
- Where there is any allegation of medical negligence,
misconduct or malpractice on the part of any registered medical practitioner,
nurse or other person.
- Septicaemia which may be caused by
- Death occurring during a surgical operation or
- Abortions (other than natural) and certain
- Acute alcohol poisoning (chronic alcoholism is
reportable, but a medical certificate of the cause of death will normally be
accepted, unless there is some element of neglect including self-neglect or
- Deaths connected with crime or suspected
- Where death may be due to homicide or occurred in
- Death of a person in prison or legal custody,
including deaths in hospital whilst sentence is being served and deaths in Garda
- Death of a person receiving a disability pension
– where death is or may be connected with a pensionable
- Death of a patient in a mental hospital.
- Death of a child in care.
- A death which may be due to CJD
- Where a person is found dead.
- Where human remains are found.
- Where the cause of death is unknown or
- Where a body is to be removed out of
Deaths reportable under
rules of practice
- Where a person is brought in dead (BID; DOA, dead on
arrival) to the accident and emergency department of a hospital.
- Deaths occurring in an accident and emergency
- Where a death occurs within 24 hours of admission to
- Where a death occurs within 24 hours of the
administration of an anaesthetic, surgical procedure or any procedure. (Note
where a death may be due to a complication of an anaesthetic, surgical procedure
or any procedure or a drug reaction, it must be reported to the coroner
notwithstanding when the death occurs, i.e. whether days, weeks, months or years
after the event).
- Certain deaths which occur in a department of a
hospital, e.g. radiology department, out-patients, physiotherapy, E.C.G.,
- Maternal deaths
- Where a patient dies in hospital, having been
recently transferred or discharged from a nursing home or other residential
institution (including mental hospital or prison).
- Where there is any doubt as to the cause of