SESSION LAW 2008-131




AN ACT to require all deaths occurring in certain State facilities be reported, to expand the jurisdiction of medical examiners to include these deaths, and to study death reporting requirements.


The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:


SECTION 1.  G.S. 122C-31 is amended by adding the following subsection to read:

" 122C-31.  Report required upon death of client.

(g)       In addition to the reporting requirements specified in subsections (a) through (e) of this section, and pursuant to G.S. 130A-383, every State facility shall report the death of any client of the facility, regardless of the manner of death, to the medical examiner of the county in which the body of the deceased is found."

SECTION 2.  G.S. 130A-383(a) reads as rewritten:

" 130A-383.  Medical examiner jurisdiction.

(a)       Upon the death of any person resulting from violence, poisoning, accident, suicide or homicide; occurring suddenly when the deceased had been in apparent good health or when unattended by a physician; occurring in a jail, prison, correctional institution or in police custody; occurring in State facilities operated in accordance with Part 5 of Article 4 of Chapter 122C of the General Statutes; occurring pursuant to Article 19 of Chapter 15 of the General Statutes; or occurring under any suspicious, unusual or unnatural circumstance, the medical examiner of the county in which the body of the deceased is found shall be notified by a physician in attendance, hospital employee, law-enforcement officer, funeral home employee, emergency medical technician, relative or by any other person having suspicion of such a death. No person shall disturb the body at the scene of such a death until authorized by the medical examiner unless in the unavailability of the medical examiner it is determined by the appropriate law enforcement agency that the presence of the body at the scene would risk the integrity of the body or provide a hazard to the safety of others. For the limited purposes of this Part, expression of opinion that death has occurred may be made by a nurse, an emergency medical technician or any other competent person in the absence of a physician."

SECTION 3. The Commission for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services shall study the current death reporting requirements under G.S. 122C-26(5)c. and assess the need for any additional reporting requirements or modifications to existing rules or procedures. The Commission shall report its findings to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services not later than November 1, 2008.

SECTION 4.  This act is effective when it becomes law.

In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 18th day of July, 2008.



                                                                    s/ Marc Basnight

                                                                         President Pro Tempore of the Senate



                                                                    s/ Joe Hackney

                                                                         Speaker of the House of Representatives



                                                                    s/ Michael F. Easley




Approved 6:06 p.m. this 28th day of July, 2008