Assistant Medical Examiner (#MDEZ01)

Summary Statement

A class incumbent performs post-mortem examinations (autopsies and external body inspections) of deceased persons in order to determine the cause and manner of death.

Nature and Scope

The incumbent reports to the Chief Medical Examiner and is responsible for performing forensic autopsies and external body examinations of deceased persons brought to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in order to determine the cause and manner of death. The work includes determining the existence of criminal acts, homicides,  suicides, accidents, as well as natural causes or other forms of death. A significant aspect of the work involves working with criminal justice agencies, law enforcement agencies, insurance companies, and occasionally hostile and/or emotionally charged families/friends of decedents. Exposure to unpleasant odors, sights, sounds, and potentially hazardous body fluids and diseases is also a significant aspect of the work. A class incumbent may assume complete responsibility for the office in the absence of the Chief Medical Examiner when assigned.

Essential Functions

Essential functions are fundamental, core functions common to all positions in the class series and are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all job duties for any one position in the class. Since class specifications are descriptive and not restrictive, incumbents can complete job duties of similar kind not specifically listed here.
  • Performs forensic autopsies and external body examinations on bodies brought to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in order to determine the cause and manner of death.
  • Reviews reports of death received from hospitals, police agencies, and private physicians in order to determine jurisdiction of cases.
  • Communicates with family, friends, and/or associates of decedents as necessary in order to clarify unclear points and obtain appropriate background information.
  • Conducts on-site investigations at the death scene to gather appropriate data and information surrounding the case.
  • Conducts a preliminary examination of the body to determine if a complete autopsy is required.
  • Directs the activities of forensic investigators in photographing and removing of the decedent and the work of autopsy room support personnel during the examination.
  • Conducts microscopic examinations of specimens, tissues, organs, fluid, blood, etc. to determine irregular conditions which might have contributed to death.
  • Prepares through dictation, autopsy and external body examination reports and findings and furnishes same to law enforcement officials to include evidence of a medical/scientific nature which might be needed for criminal involvement uses.
  • Works with hospitals, health care agencies, law enforcement and criminal justice agencies and private physicians.
  • Reviews current literature in the area of forensic pathology and investigative research and examines prior case histories for background information.
  • Prepares certificate of death and determines the release of bodies and cremation. Testifies in courts of law as required.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

The intent of the listed knowledge, skills and abilities is to give a general indication of the core requirements for all positions in the class series; therefore, the KSA’s listed are not exhaustive or necessarily inclusive of the requirements of every position in the class.
  • Knowledge of anatomic and forensic pathology and general  medicine.
  • Knowledge of medical, legal and forensic pathological terminology.
  • Knowledge of death/crime scene investigative techniques to include determination of evidence and circumstances which might be implicated.
  • Skill in tactfully dealing with families and friends of decedents, police and criminal justice personnel, the general public, government agencies, health care facilities and the media.
  • Skill in effective oral and written communication to include testifying in a court of law.
  • Ability to work under sometimes adverse conditions in cooperation with police and criminal justice agency personnel.
  • Ability to efficiently and effectively analyze a variety of evidence and data and formulate same into the prescribed format for the Chief Medical Examiner.
  • Ability to supervise and oversee the work of subordinates.

Job Requirements

JOB REQUIREMENTS for Assistant Medical Examiner
Applicants must have education, training and/or experience demonstrating competence in each of the following areas:

  1. Possession of an Anatomic Pathology Certification or eligibility for certification.
  2. Possession of a Delaware Physician M.D. or Delaware Physician D.O. license or eligibility for a Delaware license.
  3. Three years experience in forensic pathology.