AFTER DEATH... The Shocker

Ambulance, Police, and Autopsy — Oh My!
I called the mortuary to ask what to do next. They said, since she died at home, I was supposed to call 911 to report her death. They would send over paramedics to officially declare her dead and write up a report. So we did and minutes later two paramedics, two police officers and one of our building security officers arrived. One of the police officers informed me that the law requires an autopsy unless Mom's doctor agreed to sign the death certificate and diagnose the cause of death.

We certainly didn't want an autopsy so I called her physician, Dr. DeZee, at the Tripler Army Medical Center. I had to leave a message but he called back right away. He was as shocked as we were. I said, "She was doing so well. How could she just die in her sleep?" He said that with congestive heart failure patients like Mom, sometimes their heart just gives up. At any rate, he assured me he would sign the death certificate and there would be no need for an autopsy. (He later wrote on the certificate simply, "congestive heart failure" as cause of death.)

The doctor spoke with the police officers, giving them his name and license number, so they and the paramedics left. I called the mortuary again. This time they sent two attendants to take Mom's body to the mortuary.

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