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WEST VIRGINIA CODE
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WVC 61 - 12 - 3 §61-12-3. Office of chief medical examiner established; appointment, duties, etc., of chief medical examiner; assistants and employees; promulgation of rules.
(a) The office of chief medical examiner is hereby established within the division of health in the department of health and human resources. The office shall be directed by a chief medical examiner, who may employ pathologists, toxicologists, other forensic specialists, laboratory technicians, and other staff members, as needed to fulfill the responsibilities set forth in this article.

(b) All persons employed by the chief medical examiner shall be responsible to him or her and may be discharged for any reasonable cause. The chief medical examiner shall specify the qualifications required for each position in the office of chief medical examiner, and each position shall be subject to rules prescribed by the secretary of the department of health and human resources.

(c) The chief medical examiner shall be a physician licensed to practice medicine or osteopathic medicine in the state of West Virginia, who is a diplomat of the American board of pathology in forensic pathology, and who has experience in forensic medicine. The chief medical examiner shall be appointed by the director of the division of health to serve a five-year term unless sooner removed, but only for cause, by the governor or by the director.

(d) The chief medical examiner shall be responsible to the director of the division of health in all matters except that the chief medical examiner shall operate with independent authority for the purposes of:

(1) The performance of death investigations conducted pursuant to section eight of this article;

(2) The establishment of cause and manner of death; and

(3) The formulation of conclusions, opinions or testimony in judicial proceedings.

(e) The chief medical examiner, or his or her designee, shall be available at all times for consultation as necessary for carrying out the functions of the office of the chief medical examiner.

(f) The secretary of the department of health and human resources is hereby directed to propose legislative rules in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code concerning:

(1) The proper conduct of medical examinations into the cause of death;

(2) The proper methods and procedures for postmortem inquiries conducted by county medical examiners and coroners;

(3) The examination of substances taken from human remains in order to determine the cause and manner of death; and

(4) The training and certification of county medical examiners and coroners.

(g) The chief medical examiner is authorized to prescribe specific forms for record books and official papers which are necessary to the functions and responsibilities of the office of the chief medical examiner.

(h) The chief medical examiner, or his or her designee, is authorized to order and conduct an autopsy in accordance with the provisions of this article and this code. The chief medical examiner, or his or her designee, shall perform an autopsy upon the lawful request of any person authorized by the provisions of this code to request the performance of the autopsy.

(i) The salary of the chief medical examiner and the salaries of all assistants and employees of the office of the chief medical examiner shall be fixed by the Legislature from funds appropriated for that purpose. The chief medical examiner shall take an oath and provide a bond as required by law. Within the discretion of the director of the division of health, the chief medical examiner and his or her assistants shall lecture or instruct in the field of legal medicine and other related subjects to the West Virginia university or Marshall university school of medicine, the West Virginia school of osteopathic medicine, the West Virginia state police, other law-enforcement agencies and other interested groups. Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2013 1st Special Session
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