What are we measuring?
The Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office is required by law to investigate deaths that are thought to result from injury or poisoning (such as homicide, suicide, and accidental deaths), and those deaths that are sudden, unexpected, and not readily explainable at the time of death. Investigations often include examination of the deceased at the death scene in order to best determine the cause and manner of death. This performance measure tracks the percentage of cases for which the investigator arrives at the death scene within one hour once legal authority and duty to investigate have been established.
Why are we measuring it?
Prompt arrival at the death scene is critical to the accurate determination of the cause and manner of death. Investigations are best performed when the scene has not been disturbed, but there may be a need for law enforcement to quickly clear the scene, as in cases of auto accidents where traffic may be disrupted. Setting a goal of having an investigator at the scene within one hour increases the likelihood that information that will aid in the determination of the cause and manner of death is still available.
How are we doing?
Through the first half of 2017, an investigator was on scene within one hour in about 91% of all cases that required on on-scene investigation. Response time dropped somewhat in the second half of the year, bringing the average for the year down to 88%, or just below the annual target of 90%.