Author Topic: Requesting Medical Examiner's Photos  (Read 5775 times)


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Requesting Medical Examiner's Photos
« on: March 26, 2015, 10:22:02 AM »
I did not see my fianc?e after he was killed. Because of this, it is very hard for me to believe that he is gone and not out there somewhere..

I am considering reaching out to the medical examiners to see if they will release photos of him from when he was examined. Does anyone know if they will do this?
B.H.S. 1-20-1974 - 11-13-2014

You will always be my Jack and I will always be your Sally. For we were simply meant to be.


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Re: Requesting Medical Examiner's Photos
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2015, 10:56:25 AM »
I'm honestly not sure. I think you could order an autopsy report, but I don't know if that would include photos. I know it's useless to say this, but I am so, so sorry this is even a question. :(

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Re: Requesting Medical Examiner's Photos
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2015, 11:03:43 AM »
I guess my only thing I might say is you can never undo seeing what you see.  I chose to see my husband's body three days after he died.  I was told he didn't look good, but I wanted to see him anyway.  If you do ask to see photos, please have someone prepare you for what you might see.  It definitely helped me to know what to expect.  (My husband wasn't found for many hours after his death and he died in his sleep somewhat face-down.)  Think about all of the consequences of your decision. 


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Re: Requesting Medical Examiner's Photos
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2015, 12:52:29 PM »
I had the option of seeing my husband after he passed in the hospital. I was too much of a coward to do it. The friend that drove me to the hospital did go see him for me, which led to me calling him in the middle of the night about 3 weeks later so he could assure me who he saw was really Joe. I had concocted some insane fantasy that it was all a mistake and he was a John Doe. Since his wallet was still at home they wouldn't know it was him and to contact me. Seriously, seriously crazy stuff, so I understand the urge for further proof, but I worry for you that since he was in an accident those images may do more harm to your emotional well being than good, but ultimately it is your call to do what you feel is right for you. There is no right or wrong choice here, but just make sure you are very sure.
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Re: Requesting Medical Examiner's Photos
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2015, 01:11:30 PM »
I can only speak from my experience. Chad died on 11/23.  His body came back to the states 1/3, I didn't get to see him until 1/6.  He'd been dead over six weeks in a foreign country with no embalming.  I can say that NOTHING will ever take the place of those few minutes I had when he came back.  I actually went twice though everyone assured me I was completely insane for doing so.  The first time was not so bad, I even let me kids go. Then due to financial issues his body had to lay there until 1/16.  Another 10 days.  And when I finally had the money to pay for cremation , I went to make the payment and pick up his flag and I could NOT be in the same bldg. without seeing him again. And I was alone. And I drove myself home. And no, that day was not smart nor was it pretty. But you know what? When I think of Chad's face, when I think of MY HUSBAND.... I don't see that stuff. I can barely conjure up the image even if I try really hard.  Some say it gives them nightmares or they are haunted by it. I think it's a highly individual thing.  I got to lay on his chest and hold his hands .... I couldn't have survived without that and even so I still feel like he's "out there somewhere" working.  Maybe get the photos and let someone you trust preview them.  There's no one who can answer this for you except you ....
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Re: Requesting Medical Examiner's Photos
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2015, 07:39:29 PM »
I am considering reaching out to the medical examiners to see if they will release photos of him from when he was examined. Does anyone know if they will do this?

It depends on your state and local law. Ask the ME and they will tell you.

However, consider long and hard if you really want to see them. Certainly, it is comforting for some folks. For others, it could be a nightmare. I urge you to consider all aspects of this; the nature of his injuries and what condition he was in when the photos were taken, etc. Additionally, what is your 'normal' reaction to a photograph of a deceased person? If you normally are greatly upset by such photos, consider that you may be even more shaken because of your relationship. If the photos are really bad, the possibility exists that it will take a very long time to forget those images. You could ask the ME what his/her opinion is - namely, how bad are they? I'll bet they will be honest.

My late wife was a stunningly beautiful woman during her life. The manner of her death guaranteed that she was not after she passed. I knew what the photos would look like without seeing them in person due to my time with the Marine Corps. I petitioned for a court order to have the photos destroyed so that my children could never see them. The court granted my petition and I am eternally grateful they did so.

Only you know what is right for you. But please, consider it carefully.

Best wishes, Mike

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Re: Requesting Medical Examiner's Photos
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2015, 10:06:09 PM »
I always advise against reading ME Reports. I used to have to view them for my job, people i didnt even know and it was disturbing. Details no one wants to know. i would definitely advise against pics if you could even get access. If you are having trouble accepting or believing i would recommend one on one grief counseling.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2015, 11:17:12 PM by LisaPop »
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Re: Requesting Medical Examiner's Photos
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2015, 12:25:58 AM »
Oh, there is no right answer for this. Please just remember that once you see them they can't be unseen.
My dh was also killed in a vehicle accident, when they brought him to the funeral home the director "worked" on him (makeup,etc..) she then asked if I wanted an open casket. I asked her how he looked? Was it suitable to be open? She went by his pictures and said yes she felt it was fine, but I had the option of seeing him first and then deciding. It was torturous not knowing what I would see.
It was fine, no visible external injuries, so as a family we decided to keep it open for viewing.
Maybe you could ask first how bad the pictures will be.
I had to have all the coroners reports, toxicology and autopsy for insurance was very hard to read, but answered some questions I had and brought a little bit of peace of mind, yet still left me feeling devastated to read how it happened and how he was found. Even these reports are descriptive..I was thankful there were no pictures, I know personally I could not have looked at them.
I understand not having closure, my youngest struggles with this saying sometimes he just pretends that daddy is away working. We had to have a very open and honest conversation about how that is not going to help him with the grieving process and he needs to acknowledge that daddy is not coming home.


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Re: Requesting Medical Examiner's Photos
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2015, 02:48:27 PM »
I really want to see the pictures, because I want to make sure this is "real" and hope that this could be a step in moving me forward. I am scared to see the pictures, because what if that image will haunt me forever. What if he had his eyes open, just staring, dead.. Every day I wake up (unwillingly) with the image of what happened, the events and how he looked before, during and after it happened. It is complete torture. I went down to the coroners, they do not have or hold pictures they said. I went to the police and they refuse to show me. They said, just remember him how he was when he was alive. There is no real peace either way, just need to figure out which way will at least help.. if that is even possible.


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Re: Requesting Medical Examiner's Photos
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2015, 08:21:05 PM »
Lots of good advice here. Maybe just having a phone conversation with the ME will put your mind a bit at ease without needing to request potentially traumatic pictures.  The few conversations I had with my ME were very helpful for me.

I did see Squish in the hospital about 40 minutes after he passed away, and those memories are among the most tramatic for me.
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Re: Requesting Medical Examiner's Photos
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2015, 03:31:30 PM »
I wanted to see the accident photos - including two with her in them - because I had to in order to wrap my mind around things. This was at about nine months out. I went to the sheriff's office with a friend and the officer walked me through them all and left the office for a little while as I viewed the two she was in. It was tough, yes, but I was and am grateful that I had the chance, and since they gave me the pictures I've had a chance to share them with certain family and friends that have expressed an interest.

I understand there are good reasons for not doing it, but if you want to see them, I would strongly consider doing it.
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Re: Requesting Medical Examiner's Photos
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2015, 06:21:08 PM »
I admire your courage to even think of looking at the photos.  My beloved Bowman was killed in a car crash.  His injuries were so bad that we had to have a closed casket for his funeral.  But I did get to see him one last time at the funeral home after I met with the funeral director to make the arrangements.  Like you, I had to make sure that it really was him and that he wasn't "out there" somewhere.  Even though my sister and his mom (who were there making arrangements with me) strongly discouraged me from doing it, I stood up for myself and did what I had to do.  I am eternally grateful to his brother and his son for taking me into the room to see him.  I'm sure they shielded me from seeing the bad stuff but seeing him one last time did bring me some comfort and closure.  If you do decide to do it, please bring a trusted friend or family member with you.  You are going to need their support
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Re: Requesting Medical Examiner's Photos
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2015, 10:00:37 PM »
 I also didn't get to see my husband's body after he died. He was in California and we live in Ohio. His body was cremated in CA before it came home. About three months, I did call the police officer in charge of the case and asked to see the crime scene photos. I know it was morbid and even told the officer as much, but I needed to know. She was very understanding and I appreciated her sensitivity.

My husband hung himself and the pictures werent as horrible as some manner of suicides might be. For me, it helped bring about some closure. In the end, you know he is gone and seeing something like this might really effect you negatively. It took about another month to be able to look at the disc and a few more weeks to look at all of the photos.

We are all very different and I think you are getting some great perspective here.

Good Luck in whatever you decide.

BWQ 6-18-2009


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Re: Requesting Medical Examiner's Photos
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2015, 07:53:03 AM »
First I want to thank everyone for their suggestions and sharing their stories. I am indebted to everyone that responded. Thank you. You brought to light some view points that I did not consider.

Friday I saw my therapist. This was my first session with her, although I had attended one with my mother out of law shortly after Blaine was killed. I explained to her my situation and she came up with a really awesome suggestion. I needed to find someone that I trust and ask them to view the photos first. Asking them to view them and do one of two things for me. Tell me the photos may be too much for me to look at , but assure me that it was my love in the images, or deem them ok for me to look at myself.

Blaine was not mangled or anything super traumatizing in the accident, his neck was broken and his hip was majorly injured. Other than there there are only 2 lacerations on him. I asked my cousin, who knows how deeply Blaine and I loved each other if he would view the photos for me. He quickly replied "I'd absolutely do that for you". I was relieved when he answered  so positively and so quickly!

Now for the "hard" part.. Picking up the phone and calling the medical examiners office and seeing if there were even photos taken.

Again, thank you to everyone that responded. It means the world.
B.H.S. 1-20-1974 - 11-13-2014

You will always be my Jack and I will always be your Sally. For we were simply meant to be.


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Re: Requesting Medical Examiner's Photos
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2015, 10:02:02 PM »
Jacklesssally. I am glad you found a solution that works for you and glad you have such a great cousin. I hope it works out positively for you. Why don't you ask him to make the phonecalls for you. It may be difficult to deal with the matter of fact voice of someone who works with death all the time... just a thought..
 I found A washed up on a beach after he drowned. He lay face down and the police stopped me from turning him over and I did not have the strength. I had to go view him at the funeral home two days later. Yes the images are there, burnt somewhere deep in my brain, forever. He was so bruised. Seeing him dead and knowing what had happened, to think how he must have died, what happened and how he must have suffered, however brief it may have been, that hurt me so much. I prefer to look at the photos when he was alive. 
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tu aroma sigue aqu?, no me deja ir.. Por m?s que intente y quiera olvidarte, yo nunca lograre dejarte, cautivo de este amor sincero esclavo de tu voz.. Por que estoy am?ndote, so??ndose, aunque no est?s aqu?..
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