The Senior Medical Examiner in each of the five borough offices will, on a
daily basis, review the cases referred by the MLIs for further examination and,
in accordance with applicable law, determine whether an autopsy will be
performed. An autopsy can take from one to several hours, depending on the
nature of the case.
After completing the autopsy, the Medical Examiner issues a death certificate indicating the cause and manner of death. Frequently, such determinations are dependent on a review of hospital records, police reports, fire marshal reports (in fire deaths) and, in approximately 45% of the cases, subsequent laboratory tests. In such cases, the death certificate will indicate the cause and manner of death as “pending further study.” Upon receipt of these test results or other necessary information, final determinations as to cause and manner of death will be made, and the Medical Examiner will issue an amended death certificate reflecting these determinations.
Death certificates are filed with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Bureau of Health Statistics and Analysis.
Copies of the death certificate can be obtained by mail or in-person from:
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Bureau of Vital Statistics
125 Worth Street
New York, New York 10013
Please visit the DOHMH Web site for detailed information