North Carolina health officials say they will report all deaths in state mental health facilities to local medical examiners.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Wednesday that state law
already requires officials to report deaths caused by violence,
suicide or unknown causes. But the newspaper found in a review
earlier this month that some deaths were erroneously listed as the
result of natural causes and not disclosed to medical examiners.
The new policy requires officials to immediately report the
death to the local medical examiner, regardless of the cause.
Medical examiners will decide whether to conduct an autopsy.
The chief of the section that oversees all state mental health
facilities said the policy is only one step in a reexamination of
procedures covering deaths at state mental health facilities.