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Medical Examiner Need Not Wait To See If Religious Objection To Autopsy Is Made

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

“In Rugova v. City of New York, (NY App. Div., Sept. 8, 2015), a New York intermediate appellate court held that the trier of fact should determine whether the Medical Examiner’s 36-hour delay in informing next of kin that an accident victim’s body was available amounted to interference with a family’s burial rights (right of sepulcher). However the court held that the Medical Examiner was not liable for conducting an autopsy after the accident even though that was inconsistent with the family’s Muslim religious beliefs. The court said in part:

As a matter of statute, the Medical Examiner has extensive authority to perform autopsies within the exercise of professional discretion … including where, as here, circumstances indicate that the death was accidental….

Pursuant to statute, compelling public necessity is only required where the Medical Examiner has received an objection on religious grounds from a surviving friend or relative or has reason to believe that an autopsy is contrary to the decedent’s religious beliefs…. While plaintiffs obviously could not make such objection, since they had not been informed of decedent’s death, it is submitted that the Medical Examiner’s office was not obligated to wait and see if an objection would be made before performing the autopsy….”

You can learn more about this issue here.


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