1. When any person dies in a doctor’s office, or any clinic, hospital or state, county or city institution, it is unlawful for any doctor, nurse, attendant, orderly, janitor or bookkeeper, or anyone, to call an undertaker without first making an effort to contact a relative of the person, if the person has any known kin in the county where the person died, so as to give the kin or relative the right to call an undertaker or crematory of the next of kin’s or relative’s choice.
  2. In the event kin or relatives are not available or are not known, or should the next of kin fail or refuse to summon an undertaker or crematory or to dispose of the body in some manner within eight (8) hours after the death of the person, then the doctor, hospital, clinic or other institution may summon an undertaker to take over the body.
  3. Attorney's Note

    Under the Tennessee Code, punishments for crimes depend on the classification. In the case of this section:
    ClassPrisonFine
    class C misdemeanorup to 30 daysup to $50
    For details, see Tenn. Code § 40-35-111

    Terms Used In Tennessee Code 68-4-101

    • Person: includes a corporation, firm, company or association. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
    • State: when applied to the different parts of the United States, includes the District of Columbia and the several territories of the United States. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105

  4. In the event the next of kin refuses to summon an undertaker or crematory or dispose of the body in some manner immediately, then the doctor, hospital, clinic or institution may summon some undertaker to take over the body.
  5. Any doctor, nurse, attendant, orderly, janitor or bookkeeper or anyone connected with the office, hospital, clinic or institution violating subsection (a) commits a Class C misdemeanor.