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Mission Statement

Department of the Medical Examiner serves the public through the investigation of sudden, unexpected, violent and suspicious deaths.

Section 6-1305, 1973 Revised Charter of the City and County of Honolulu (2000 Edition):

"When any person dies in the city as a result of violence or by a casualty or by apparent suicide or suddenly when in apparent health or when not under the care of a physician or when in jail or in prison or within twenty-four hours after admission to a hospital or in any suspicious or unusual manner, it shall be the duty of the person having knowledge of such death immediately to notify the department of the medical examiner and the police department."

 Accurate investigation and determination of cause and manner of death are essential to our community for the following reasons:

  1. Recognition of murder and exoneration of the innocent in criminal and civil proceedings will be provided with documented, sound, and impartial medical evidence.

  2. Recognition of hazards to public health:

    • Environmental conditions in workplace, home

    • Industrial hazards

  3. Recognition of preventable genetic disorders and contagious disease.

  4. Identifying trends affecting the lives of our citizens:

    • drug-related deaths

    • teen suicides

    • elder neglect

    • child deaths

The Department of the Medical Examiner staff is aware of the tragedy that accompanies sudden and unexpected deaths and realizes that each case represents an individual who is deeply missed by his or her loved ones.  Our investigators are trained to deliver the news of the death with the utmost compassion, courtesy and professionalism.  A thorough investigation into the circumstances of death, complete postmortem examination and necessary laboratory studies are conducted to determine the cause and manner of death.

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Last Reviewed: Tuesday, November 27, 2012