Deceased Person




  • Facilitate the appropriate transition of a deceased person to the care of the coroner or funeral home.




  • Operate under the laws and regulations of the State of South Carolina
  • Distinguish the roles of ALS vs BLS crews in completing this process
  • Delineate the difference in procedure between natural, unnatural, and questionable deaths.




  • Natural death scenes: scenes where there is reasonable evidence that the person died of natural causes.
  • Unnatural or questionable death scenes: scenes outside the definition of a natural death (violence, trauma, drugs, hemorrhage, fetal death, pediatrics, questionable or insufficient information to identify cause of death. Patient's under the age of 60 without extensive medical history.
  • High morbidity cases: cases in which the EMS personnel believe that patient death may be imminent as a result ofunnatural causes.




  1. Patient determined to be deceased on scene by ALS or BLS crews based on appropriate criteria in policies 1.4, 1.5, and 1.6.
  2. In the event of a natural death scene,
    1. Evaluates patient and declares death and no resuscitation attempted, or resuscitation ceased if initiated.
    2. Record time of declaration.
    3. Collects and record information on primary care physician (if applicable), funeral home and reports pertinent information to coroner on call. EMS clears the scene after contacting the coroner and providing brief family care as needed. Coroner will contact the primary care physician and funeral home.
  3. In the event of an unnatural questionable, or traumatic death scene, contact the coroner and law enforcement.
    1. Leave the immediate area without disturbing anything related to the scene.
    2. Do not move or reposition the body. Leave in place any disposable medical equipment used to assess the patient. Use caution when moving around the patient, surrounding furniture, articles. The patient must remain uncovered and left in original state. Please note, this does not pertain to MVA fatalities.


Certification Requirements:


  • The above procedures can be completed by any level provider.
  • In any case not meeting the BLS criteria for withholding resuscitation, a paramedic must confirm death and appropriately document care and rhythm strip in their patient care report (PCR).