Title 45, Chapter 16, Section 21
As used in this article, the term:
(1) "Autopsy" means the dissection of a dead body and the
examination of bone, tissue, organs, and foreign objects for the
purpose of determining the cause of death and circumstances
surrounding the same, which procedure shall include as a minimum
an external examination and the examination of the brain, neck and
thoracic organs, and abdominal organs.
(1.1) "Chief medical examiner" means the chief medical examiner appointed pursuant to Code Section 35-3-153.
(2) "County medical examiner" means that office established in lieu of the office of coroner pursuant to Code Section 45-16-80 or any amendment to the Constitution continued pursuant to the authority of Article XI, Section I, Paragraph IV of the Constitution.
(3) "Division" means the Division of Forensic Sciences of the
Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
(4) "External examination" means an external examination of a dead
body but shall not include dissection of the body for any purpose
except dissection which is necessary for and limited to
procurement of blood or body fluids for toxicological or other
(5) "Forensic consultant" means a person meeting the requirements and authorized to perform the duties specified in subsection (c) of Code Section 45-16-23.
(6) "Inquest" means an official judicial inquiry before a coroner
and coroner's jury for the purpose of determining the cause of
(7) "Limited dissection" means the incision into or dissection of
a dead body for diagnosis or evidence collection and the term
includes without being limited to an external examination but does
not include an individual examination of the:
(B) Neck organs;
(C) Thoracic organs; and
(D) Abdominal organs
but may include an examination of any but not all of the
categories of organs specified in subparagraphs (A) through (D) of
(8) "Local medical examiner" means a person meeting the requirements and authorized to perform the duties specified in subsection (b) of Code Section 45-16-23.
(9) "Medical examiner" means:
(A) The chief medical examiner;
(B) A regional medical examiner;
(C) A county medical examiner;
(D) A local medical examiner; or
(E) Any person who is employed by the state and appointed as a
medical examiner as of December 1, 1989, who continues to
perform the duties and exercise the powers of a medical examiner
under this article when such performance and exercise are within
the scope of such employment.
(10) "Medical examiner's inquiry" means an inquiry made by a medical examiner into the circumstances surrounding a death which is required to be reported under the provisions of Code Section 45-16-24, which inquiry may include, but is not required to include, a scene investigation, an external examination, a limited dissection, an autopsy, or any combination thereof.
(11) "Medical examiner's investigator" means a person meeting the requirements and authorized to perform the duties specified in subsection (d) of Code Section 45-16-23.
(12) "Peace officer in charge" means any peace officer of the Georgia State Patrol or agent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, sheriff or sheriff's deputy, peace officer assigned to the coroner's office, county policeman, city policeman, or city detective who may be in charge of the investigation of any case involving a death covered by Code Sections 45-16-27 and 45-16-32.
(13) "Regional medical examiner" means a medical examiner who is employed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and who is a pathologist certified in forensic pathology by the American Board of Pathology appointed by the chief medical examiner pursuant to Code Section 35-3-153.
(14) "Scene investigation" means an examination by the medical
examiner or medical examiner's investigator of the area
surrounding a dead body or area where a death or agonal event
(15) "Unattended death," "died unattended," or "died unattended by
a physician" means a death where a person dies of apparently
natural causes and has no physician who can certify the death as
being due to natural causes. If the suspected cause of death
directly involves any trauma or complication of such trauma, the
death must be reported to the coroner or county medical examiner.
An unattended death also occurs when a person is admitted in an
unresponsive state to a hospital and dies within 24 hours of