The medical examiner is responsible for conducting an independent investigation into any death under your jurisdiction in accordance with the law. Jurisdictional deaths are those that occur within Lancaster County and are sudden, unexpected, unattended, or violent or suspicious in nature. The primary purpose of this investigation is the determination and certification of the cause of death and the mode or form of death.
In addition, the medical examiner will determine whether any death was the result of criminal acts or criminal negligence of persons other than the deceased. The coroner will identify the deceased and ensure that the closest relatives have been notified. The legal authority of the medical examiner is located in county code 16 P.S. 1231-1260.
The Office of the Coroner is divided into four operational areas:
• Forensic services
• Laboratory operations
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In 2011, the Lancaster County Forensic Office became the second forensic office in Pennsylvania to achieve international accreditation through the International Association of Forensic Physicians and Medical Examiners. Accreditation provides a means by which medical-legal death research agencies can evaluate and improve performance.
The basis of accreditation lies in the formulation of clear professional objectives in the form of standards. Once the policy and procedure are established, ensuring continuous compliance with professional standards, a team of independent professional evaluators from across the country is assigned to verify that all applicable standards have been successfully implemented. This process culminates with a decision by the Association's Executive Board that the agency is worthy of accreditation. Accreditation is granted for a period of five years, after which a re-evaluation is required.
Lancaster County Forensic Center
In November 2012, the coroner's office moved its operations to the new construction site, Lancaster County Forense Center, located on Spring Valley Road in this municipality of Hempfield. This long-awaited transition marks the first time all areas of the coroner's office have operated under one roof. This state-of-the-art facility will serve the citizens of Lancaster County well for many years to come.