The primary function of the Johnson County Medical Examiner Department is to determine a scientifically based cause and manner of death for every death that falls within its jurisdiction. The State of Iowa uses an appointed medical examiner system, the scope and duties of which are defined by the Iowa Administrative Code Chapter 127 and the Iowa Code Section 331.801-805.
Our department consists of a Medical Examiner, Deputy Medical Examiners, a Medical Examiner Administrative Director, a Medical Examiner Supervisor, and Medical Examiner Investigators.
The Medical Examiner is appointed by the Johnson County Board of Supervisors for a two- year term. The Medical Examiner appoints Deputy Medical Examiners who function as the Medical Examiner in his absence. Every Medical Examiner must be a licensed physician; the Medical Examiner and both Deputy Medical Examiners are board-certified forensic pathologists. The Medical Examiner and Deputy Medical Examiners are available 24 hours/day.
Medical Examiner Investigators (MEIs) are hired by the Board of Supervisors; these appointments must also be approved by the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner. MEIs conduct death investigations by gathering scene information and evidence, collecting medical records, conducting interviews, collecting specimens, and making preliminary determinations of cause and manner of death. There is a consultative relationship between the MEIs and the Medical Examiners to determine whether an autopsy will be needed to add information to a particular death investigation. MEIs provide continuous on call coverage, and can be reached through our pager system.