Missouri Revised Statutes

Chapter 194
Death--Disposition of Dead Bodies
Section 194.117

August 28, 2013


Sudden infant death--notification--autopsy by certified child death pathologist required, procedure, release to parents or guardian--cost, how paid--department of health and senior services duties--rules and regulations.

194.117. Any person who discovers the dead body of, or acquires the first knowledge of the death of, any child under the age of one year and over the age of one week, where the child died suddenly when in apparent good health, shall immediately notify the county coroner or medical examiner of the known facts concerning the time, place, manner, and circumstances of the death. All such deaths shall be autopsied by a certified child death pathologist. The coroner or medical examiner shall notify the parent or guardian of the child that an autopsy shall be performed at the expense of the state. The department of health and senior services shall receive prompt notification of such autopsy results. The results from the autopsy shall be reduced to writing and delivered to the state department of health and senior services. The term "sudden infant death syndrome" shall be entered on the death certificate as the principal cause of death where the term is appropriately descriptive of the circumstances surrounding the death of the child. The cost of the autopsy and transportation of the body shall be paid by the department of health and senior services, and the department shall pay, out of appropriations made for that purpose, as a reimbursement to the certified child death pathologist such costs that are within the limitation of maximum rates established by the rules and regulations of the department. Autopsies under this section shall be performed by pathologists deemed qualified to perform autopsies by the department of health and senior services and who agree to perform the autopsy according to protocols developed pursuant to section 210.196. The certified child death pathologist shall ensure that a tangible summary of the autopsy results is provided to the parents or guardian of the child and shall provide informational material on the subject of sudden infant death syndrome to the family within one week after the autopsy is performed. A form letter developed by the department of health and senior services shall include a statement informing the parents or guardian of the right to receive the full autopsy results in cases of suspected sudden infant death syndrome. The certified child death pathologist shall, upon request by the parents or guardian, release the full autopsy results to the parents, guardian or family physician in cases of suspected sudden infant death syndrome within thirty days of such request. The tangible summary and full autopsy report shall be provided at no cost to the parents or guardian. The director of the department of health and senior services shall prescribe reasonable rules and regulations necessary to carry out the provisions of this section, including the establishment of a cost schedule and standards for reimbursement of costs of autopsies performed pursuant to the provisions of this section. The provisions of this section shall not be construed so as to limit, restrict or otherwise affect any power, authority, duty or responsibility imposed by any other provision of law upon any coroner or medical examiner. The department of health and senior services may receive grants of money or other aid from federal and other public and private agencies or individuals for the administration or funding of this section or any portion thereof or for research to determine the cause and prevention of deaths caused by sudden infant death syndrome.

(L. 1978 S.B. 765 1, A.L. 1991 H.B. 185, A.L. 1993 S.B. 253 merged with S.B. 394, A.L. 1999 S.B. 25)


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