First Steps When Someone Dies at Home?

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by py3ak, Mar 13, 2010.

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  1. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    The internet is surprisingly uninformative on this topic.

    If someone dies in your house, what do you do? I'm referring to practical things: who do you call, in what order, what are common mistakes, what might get you in trouble, etc.?

    There are currently no corpses in my residence that I'm aware of, but I was seized with panic this morning on realizing that I have no idea of what steps to take if ever confronted with this logistical problem.
  2. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    911? Surely the paramedics would not only confirm death but know the next steps?
  3. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    You simply call 911 or the police. They will take care of it from there. (Assuming that the person is really dead and not just mostly dead. If they are mostly dead you simply call 911). If they call the Coroner, the police will stay on site until the Coroner comes. If 911 will take the person to the hospital (on the logic that they are mostly dead, not really dead), you will really have no problems. If the police arrive, prepare to wait until the Coroner's office shows up which can take a few hours. At least that is how they handle it in CA. I have sat with a body for several hours until the Coroner comes and removes it. On the other hand, sometimes the time from initial call to body removal is an hour or less.

    Oops! Maybe I misread your question. Obviously my answer did not deal with informing next of kin, etc.

    Also, if the "person" is dead because you killed her in a fit of pique over taking your copy of Wheelock's Latin Grammar, you might want to consider going on the lam before the authorities arrive.
  4. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    No, that was practical. If you call 911 do you wind up getting charged? If they take the deceased to the hospital?

    I guess it doesn't matter if the Coroner, etc., get their hands on the body first because the next of kin are expecting to go the morgue/funeral home, etc.
  5. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    A good procedure would be to call the Fire Department/EMT/paramedics.

    Don't worry about the cost.
  6. Rich Koster

    Rich Koster Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Call Benny Hinn. He will get them up and going if you sow a generous seed of faith.:rolleyes:
  7. Jimmy the Greek

    Jimmy the Greek Puritan Board Senior

    For deaths that occur at home, it's important to know who to call. If your loved one is a hospice patient, call the hospice agency to report the death. A hospice nurse will come to the home and pronounce the death. The nurse may also call a mortuary for you and arrange for pick up of the body.

    If your loved one is not a hospice patient, then you must call 911 Emergency Services to notify the local police of the death. A coroner or medical examiner may be required at the scene if the death was sudden.
  8. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    Actually, Ruben, if you are "planning" to have a dead body in your house, it might be that you have bigger problems than worrying over who will pay for the transport . . . like how will you pay for your legal defense! :hunter:

    If you find a body that is obviously dead, you can always call the police and they will handle all of your logistics for you. They are quite adept at next steps in such a case.

    Jim is quite correct about hospice. I guess my assumption was that you discover a member of your household has "expired" (generally considered, not that they were hospice patients specifically).
  9. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Dennis, I may do a separate thread later about tips for fleeing from a criminal manhunt.

    The consensus seems to be to call the cops, and of course people mostly don't know a number for them except 911 - but I can't help being a little worried about the potential cost. Does anyone have any reassurance to offer on that score?
  10. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    A decent point was raised: would one be charged for calling 911 to remove the corpse? Would it be more cost effective to drag it first to the neighbor's lawn and let them make the call?
  11. Kiffin

    Kiffin Puritan Board Freshman

    :um: creepy thread...
  12. Galatians220

    Galatians220 Puritan Board Post-Graduate


    Around here, no one gets charged for a 911 call in that circumstance. I can't speak for all municipalities or jurisdictions, obviously, but the Charter Township of Canton, I know, does not charge for that.

    They don't even charge for EMT transport to the local first responder site, nor do they charge for local hospital transport from there. The only charge comes if you want transport to a different hospital, i.e., one that's outside the township.

    The police & fire dept. link from your local municipality/township would indicate, or would give you a phone number to call to find out what if any charges there would be.

    Blessings - and a hug to your magnificent wife! -

  13. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    Definitely one of the strangest I've read. However, the mixture of true curiosity and humor is classic.
  14. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    That's reassuring, Margaret. Thank you! It does seem a bit harsh to add the trauma of massive, unexpected bills to the trauma of a dead body in your house. Unless someone chimes in otherwise, I will hold off on obtaining a savings account for deceased house guest body disposal expenses.

    Now, say that someone had a card that donated their body to research: is it a faux pas to call those people before one contacts the local PD?

    If you're in a hotel, is it courtesy or requirement to let the front desk know?
  15. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    Important questions you pose, Ruben.

    Also, is there a time frame in which the PD must be called, or could I wait a day or two day to call when it is convenient for my schedule?
  16. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    This is a good point. I mean it is not like the body is going anywhere and it takes a little while for the smell to develop.
  17. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    I have wondered about the time frame thing before, but I would like to point out that if any of us should be in this situation, this thread could be remembered with gratitude for helping us bowl the sticky wicket of government interaction with private citizens in the emotionally laden time of death, or with a shudder of horror at how attempts at humor dragged it completely off track.

    Margaret, Heidi sends you a hug back.
  18. Wayne

    Wayne Tempus faciendi, Domine.

    Yes, but now Ruben is prepared and can invite company over at last. It's all very convenient. :D

    All the proper families have an endowment set aside for this purpose.
  19. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Wouldn't the person's life insurance cover such expenses (if there are any)?

    Personally, I only have life insurance for the good of my family, obviously I wouldn't mind just being thrown in a hole, if a pine box is necessary so be it. I would do away with the vault. Blah (too much unnecessary money). They can't keep my body in the grave, not when I'm still united to Christ, vaults will not hold my body! Why the government thinks I need a vault is beyond me.
  20. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Perhaps, but wouldn't you rather keep the life insurance, instead of giving it to the coroner? If you donate your body to science, you can avoid most if not all death-related expenses. The point at issue is making sure you avoid them all, while not putting yourself at any legal risk.
  21. Berean

    Berean Puritan Board Doctor

    Interesting Saturday discussion. So if someone dies in your living room, log on to the PB first thing for your to-do checklist. :think:

    Now we've moved on to the burial phase. Andrew, if you do away with the vault then the grave will sink as the casket deteriorates. Most cemeteries require them.
  22. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    I think the first step might be to update your Facebook status, and let the advice come to you.
  23. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor


    I know most cemeteries require them. I'm still opposed, and a sinking grave I care not about, just put a mound of dirt over it. Gravestone I care not, just put a big sign up somewhere that tells the Gospel, I'm happy. There are a number of people who do that in MS (especially those on welfare). To my knowledge you don't need a vault if you bury within three days of death in MS. But you have to have a *GOOD* cemetery to be able to do that. :)
  24. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritanboard Softy

    Is it wrong to rummage through the pockets of the dead man to see if he has any loose change? I mean, is it stealing if he's dead? And what about if you KNOW he has no living relatives who could rightly lay claim to his loose change?
  25. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    I would definitely take the pocketknife, if there was one.

    Should you leave the body where it was found, or should you arrange it somewhere respectfully?

    In Mexico, when people die they get covered with a white sheet. What if you don't have any white sheets? I'm assuming paisley prints are out, but what about a tasteful floral pattern?
  26. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritanboard Softy

    Would it be acceptable to use them as a coffee table? Or perhaps put them out of the way in a corner or something?
  27. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Exactly: should you leave your deceased house guest in the middle of the living room floor, drag him into the closet, prop him in a chair, etc.?
  28. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    You could put the pocketknives (or is it the change/money) over their eyes. I've seen that in movies!
  29. Wayne

    Wayne Tempus faciendi, Domine.

    That explains the neat collection you showed me. Provenance is everything.
  30. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Wayne, was that a dig at Heidi's cooking?
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