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149A.90 Death; registration and removal from place of death.

Subdivision 1. Death record. (a) Except as provided in this section, a death record must be completed and filed for every known death by the mortician, funeral director, or other person lawfully in charge of the disposition of the body.

(b) If the body is that of an individual whose identity is unknown, the person in charge of the disposition of the body must notify the commissioner for purposes of compliance with section 144.05, subdivision 4.

Subd. 2. Removal from place of death. No person subject to regulation under this chapter shall remove or cause to be removed any dead human body from the place of death without being licensed by the commissioner. Every dead human body shall be removed from the place of death by a licensed mortician or funeral director, except as provided in section 149A.01, subdivision 3.

Subd. 3. Referrals to coroner or medical examiner. The mortician, funeral director, or other person lawfully in charge of the disposition of the body shall notify the coroner or medical examiner before moving a body from the site of death in any case:

(1) where the person is unable to obtain firm assurance from the physician in attendance that the medical certification will be signed;

(2) when circumstances suggest that the death was caused by other than natural causes;

(3) where deaths occur under mysterious or unusual circumstances;

(4) where there is a violent death, whether homicidal, suicidal, or accidental, including but not limited to: thermal, chemical, electrical, or radiational injury; and deaths due to criminal abortion, whether self-induced or not;

(5) where the body is to be disposed of in some manner which prevents later examination, including but not limited to, cremation, dissection, or burial at sea; or

(6) when the decedent was an inmate of a public institution who was not hospitalized for organic disease.

Subd. 4. Documentation of removal. No dead human body shall be removed from the place of death by a mortician or funeral director without the completion of a removal certification and, where possible, presentation of a copy of that certification to the person or a representative of the legal entity with physical or legal custody of the body at the death site. The removal certification may be on a form provided by the commissioner or on any other form that contains, at least, the following information:

(1) the name of the deceased, if known;

(2) the date and time of removal;

(3) a brief listing of the type and condition of any personal property removed with the body;

(4) the location to which the body is being taken;

(5) the name, business address, and license number of the individual making the removal; and

(6) the signatures of the individual making the removal and, where possible, the individual or representative of the legal entity with physical or legal custody of the body at the death site.

Subd. 5. Retention of documentation of removal. A copy of the removal certification shall be given, where possible, to the person or representative of the legal entity having physical or legal custody of the body at the death site. The original removal certification shall be retained by the individual making the removal and shall be kept on file, at the funeral establishment or crematory to which the body was taken, for a period of three calendar years following the date of the removal. Following this period, and subject to any other laws requiring retention of records, the funeral establishment or crematory may then place the records in storage or reduce them to microfilm, microfiche, laser disc, or any other method that can produce an accurate reproduction of the original record, for retention for a period of ten calendar years from the date of the removal of the body. At the end of this period and subject to any other laws requiring retention of records, the funeral establishment or crematory may destroy the records by shredding, incineration, or any other manner that protects the privacy of the individuals identified in the records.

Subd. 6. Removal procedure. Every individual removing a dead human body from the place of death shall use universal precautions and otherwise exercise all reasonable precautions to minimize the risk of transmitting any communicable disease from the body. Before removal, the body shall be wrapped in a sheet that is impervious to liquids, covered in such a manner that the body cannot be viewed, encased in a secure pouch, and placed on a regulation ambulance cot or on an aircraft ambulance stretcher. Any dead human body measuring 36 inches or less in length may be removed after having been properly wrapped, covered, and encased, but does not need to be placed on an ambulance cot or aircraft ambulance stretcher.

Subd. 7. Conveyances permitted for removal. A dead human body may be transported from the place of death by any vehicle that meets the following standards:

(1) promotes respect for and preserves the dignity of the dead human body;

(2) shields the body from being viewed from outside of the conveyance;

(3) has ample enclosed area to accommodate an ambulance cot or aircraft ambulance stretcher in a horizontal position;

(4) is so designed to permit loading and unloading of the body without excessive tilting of the cot or stretcher; and

(5) if used for the transportation of more than one dead human body at one time, the vehicle must be designed so that a body or container does not rest directly on top of another body or container and that each body or container is secured to prevent the body or container from excessive movement within the conveyance. A dead human body measuring 36 inches or less in length may be transported from the place of death by passenger automobile. For purposes of this subdivision, a passenger automobile is a vehicle designed and used for carrying not more than ten persons, but excludes motorcycles and motor scooters.

Subd. 8. Proper holding facility required. The funeral establishment or crematory to which a dead human body is taken shall have an appropriate holding facility for storing the body while awaiting final disposition. The holding facility must be secure from access by anyone except the authorized personnel of the funeral establishment or crematory, preserve the dignity of the remains, and protect the health and safety of the funeral establishment or crematory personnel.

HIST: 1997 c 215 s 36; 1Sp2001 c 9 art 15 s 32; 2002 c 375 art 3 s 9