Substitute House Bill No. 5774

Public Act No. 99-72

An Act Concerning the Appearance of a Conflict of Interest in the Performance of Autopsies.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 19a-286 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) Whenever any person dies and no postmortem examination or autopsy has been ordered pursuant to subsection (b) of section 19a-406, no physician shall conduct or assist in conducting any postmortem examination or autopsy upon the body of such deceased person without first obtaining the consent of whichever one of the following persons, eighteen years of age or older, assumes custody of the body for the purposes of burial: Father, mother, husband, wife, child, guardian, next of kin, friend or any person charged by law with the responsibility for burial. If two or more persons assume custody of the body, consent of one of them shall be deemed sufficient. Any such consent may be in writing or may be given by telegram, and any telegram purporting to have been sent by a person authorized to give such consent shall be conclusively presumed to have been sent by such person, or may be given by telephone, provided a record of any such consent by telephone shall be kept by such physician for not less than three years. If the physician who is to conduct or assist in conducting any postmortem examination or autopsy, after due inquiry and diligence, is unable to find any person authorized to give consent as provided for herein, such postmortem examination or autopsy may be made by such physician without such consent but only after a reasonable time, which shall not be less than twelve hours nor more than forty-eight hours, has elapsed. Any person violating any provision of this section shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars.

(b) Any person authorized to consent to an autopsy under subsection (a) of this section may require that if an autopsy is performed it be performed by, or attended by, a physician who is not affiliated with the institution where the deceased person died. The physician seeking consent to an autopsy shall inform the person authorized to give consent of the right to request performance or attendance by a nonaffiliated physician. Such information shall be given orally and shall be included in any written consent form.

Approved May 27, 1999