What to Do When a Death occurs

At Home or Where Privately Being Cared For:

  • Call the deceased's Doctor. Once the doctor has identified the deceased and is satisfied as to the cause of death, a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death will be prepared.
  • If the Doctor has not attended the deceased in the past three months, or the Doctor is uncertain as to the exact cause of death, the death then becomes a Coroner's matter.
  • If a decision about a Funeral Director has not already been made, this should be decided at this time and initial contact made.
  • When the Medical Certificate is issued (or the doctor agrees to sign this document at the earliest time), the Funeral Director may transport the deceased from the place of death to their premises.

At A Hospital or Nursing Home:

  • The Staff of the Hospital or Nursing Home will contact the family and advise them of the death. The family may wish to see them before any arrangements are made for their transportation to a Funeral Home.
  • Once the medical staff at the hospital have satisfied the legal requirements regarding the cause of death and the identity of the deceased, a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death can then be issued.
  • Family can then contact a Funeral Director of their choice and ask that the deceased be transported to the Funeral Directors premises. The Funeral DIrector will attend to collect all relevant documents from the hospital at this time.
  • In most cases, the Nursing Home requires the Funeral Director to attend to transportation of the deceased as soon as the paperwork is available. However, most major hospitals will only release to the Funeral Director during normal working hours. (Monday-Friday 9am-4pm)

Accidental or Sudden, Unexpected Death:

  • If a death is due to an accident, or is sudden and unexpected, the ambulance or police should be called immediately. In these cases, a call to the ambulance service automatically becomes a police call.
  • The ambulance and police attend and will ask relevant questions about the identity of the deceased and the circumstances of the death.
  • They will then call the government contracted undertaker to transfer the deceased to the government facilities (in Cairns - Cairns Base Hospital) where a post mortem (autopsy) will take place.
  • A report will then be prepared for the Coroner.
  • The family should contact a Funeral Director of their choice to attend to the arrangements of obtaining release from the Coroner's care.

A Death Must Be Reported to a Coroner in the following situations:

  • A person has died suddenly and the cause is unknown.
  • A person has died a violent or unnatural death
  • A medical practioner has not issued, or will not issue, a certificate stating cause of death.
  • The deceased person was not attended by a medical practioner within three months before death.

We are available at any time day or night to answer your call,to not only assist you,
but to offer you the support needed at such a difficult time.