Minor Toxicology and Genetic Findings in Arrest Phase in Custody Deaths: Grand Rounds 2022


When: This event originally occurred on May 27th, 2022.

Presenter: Dr. Mary Ann Sens, Professor and Chair of Pathology at UNDSMHS, Grand Forks, ND


Presenter: Dr. Allecia Wilson, Director, Autopsy and Forensic Services at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI


Presenter: Dr. Jan Gorniak, Chief Medical Examiner, Clark County, Las Vegas, NV


Certification of deaths in custody, especially those in the pre-arrest phase, can be difficult in the setting of significant natural disease with or without positive toxicology findings. Should these be included on the death certificate? As with child death and drug-related fatality review committees, deaths in custody should be reviewed, if not at the state level, at the local/county level. Establishing a multidisciplinary review team/committee will help effectively prevent future fatalities. It also recommended that before finalizing reports and certifying deaths in custody, forensic pathologist utilize an internal and/or external peer review.

Detailed Learning Objectives:

  • Define deaths in custody
  • Identify ways to improve reporting and data collection of deaths in custody
  • Understanding other significant conditions and toxicology findings when determining cause of death in pre-custody/restraint deaths.


*Funding for this training was made possible by a cooperative agreement between the National Network of Public Health Institutes and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [6 NU38OT000303-03-02]. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.


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