R U H Bath, return to home page

Pathology Departments Requesting & Reporting Blood Test Information Phlebotomy Guide Contact us
Departments

Mortuary

Opening Hours

The mortuary is open from 08.00h to 16.30h Monday to Friday. A Consultant Pathologist is available on call, out of normal hours, through switchboard. Please feel free to contact any one of the consultants and members of laboratory staff for advice about any aspect of our service.

back to top

Autopsies

After the death of a patient, please inform the mortuary as soon as possible if a post mortem examination is required.

If a hospital post mortem examination is to be performed:

  1. a death certificate must be completed
  2. signed consent from the next-of-kin must be obtained
  3. a clinical summary for the mortuary must be completed
  4. the patient's notes must also be sent to the mortuary with the clinical summary

Failure to comply with these requirements will lead to a delay in the post mortem examination.

If a death needs to be reported to the Coroner (see below - Notes for Guidance in connection with notification of deaths to HM Coroner), please inform the Coroner's Officer at Flax Bourton 01275 461920 - as soon as possible. The Coroner's Officer is available between 0800h and 1600h.

If there is any doubt as to whether or not a death has to be referred to HM Coroner, please contact a Consultant Pathologist or the Mortuary for advice.

Please note that mortuary staff and pathologists must be informed of any post mortems with possible infective hazards, especially HIV, hepatitis B, C and tuberculosis and that all such bodies must clearly bear the appropriate biohazard labels.

back to top

Notification of Deaths

Notes for guidance in connection with the notification of deaths to HM Coroner (Information for Medical Staff) A death certificate should not be issued on a patient dying under the following circumstances. HM Coroner or his/her deputy should be informed AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

  1. Where a body is UNIDENTIFIED.
  2. Where NO DOCTOR HAS ATTENDED THE DECEASED during the last illness.
  3. When the DOCTOR attending the patient DID NOT SEE HIM OR HER WITHIN FOURTEEN DAYS OF DEATH.
  4. Death whilst under the influence of ANAESTHESIA (ON THE OPERATING TABLE or on the ward before recovering consciousness). The Anaesthetist should be informed before reporting the facts to the Coroner.
  5. Where the CAUSE IS NOT KNOWN.
  6. When the death was SUDDEN AND UNEXPLAINED or there were SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES.
  7. Patients already dead on ADMISSION to hospital, or dying shortly after (within 24 hours of admission).
  8. Following an ACCIDENT (e.g. road traffic accident or domestic) or injury, which is relevant to the cause of death, even if the accident took place many years before. It is advisable to inform HM Coroner if a patient dies shortly after an ACCIDENT IN THE HOSPITAL even if the injury appears not to have contributed to the death.
  9. Deaths following abortions.
  10. Detention in hospital under an ORDER of the COURTS or of a PERSON ADMITTED TO HOSPITAL FOLLOWING POLICE OR PRISON DETENTION.
  11. DRUGS, Therapeutic mishaps, addition or abnormal sensitivity
  12. ILL TREATMENT including malnutrition and suspected baby battering.
  13. INFANT DEATHS if in any way obscure.
  14. LITIGATION - all cases where it is known or suspected that the relatives or executors intend to bring charges of negligence against any person.
  15. Patients from a LONG STAY HOSPITAL (Mentally handicapped hospitals, etc.)
  16. OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE. E.G. pneumoconiosis, asbestosis, (to be suspected in cases of mesothelioma), Weil's disease, carcinoma of the urinary tract in rubber workers, nasal carcinoma in wood workers, anthrax and all diseases covered by the FACTORIES ACT malignant disease or anaemia resulting from exposure to radiations or radioactive active substances.
  17. The Coroner would be grateful if the Hospital reports to him deaths of ALL MINERS unless the presence of pneumoconiosis can be definitely excluded.
  18. PENSIONERS receiving war or disability pensions, where death might be connected with the disability.
  19. POISONING from any causes (including food-poisoning) and including the ACUTE EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL.
  20. RENAL TRANSPLANT DONORS.
  21. SEPTICAEMIA.
  22. SUICIDE.
  23. UNNATURAL DEATHS, e.g. drowning, electrocution, violence, hypothermia, choking.

Please note:

The REGISTRAR OF BIRTHS AND DEATHS is unable to register a death when the certificate states that a FRACTURE has contributed to death. This may need to be qualified as osteoporotic or certainly demonstrated that the fracture was not a result of an accident. This would be an accidental cause of death rather than a natural cause of death.

Cases are referred to the Coroner by fax using the forms available in the Patient Affairs offices and faxed directly to the number. This means there is a written trail of evidence that can be stored in the casenotes and that there is no dispute about what information is given to the Coroner.

Full details of the fax and contact numbers are available within the Patient Affairs office. The Patient Affairs extension is 4315. The opening hours of the Patient Affairs office are: 08.30am 3.30pm Monday to Friday.


back to top