Tennessee Code 68-4-103 – Persons Dying in Publicly-Supported Institutions or to Be Buried at Public Expense — Notice to Relatives — Notice to Chief Medical Examiner — Removal of Body — Embalming — Infectious or Contagious Cases
Representative: when applied to those who represent a decedent, includes executors and administrators, unless the context implies heirs and distributees. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
Whenever a person dies in any hospital, infirmary, mental health institute, poorhouse, penitentiary, house of correction, workhouse, jail, or other charitable or penal institution that is supported in whole or in part at public expense, or whenever a body is delivered to a public official for the purpose of determining the cause of death or for the purpose of burial of the body or the cremated remains at public expense, it is the duty of the public official or of the custodian, superintendent or active head of such institution to immediately notify the nearest relative of the person, if any relative be known, of the person’s death.
After the notification pursuant to subsection (a), the custodian, superintendent or active head of the institution or public official shall then hold the body of the deceased person not less than ninety-six (96) hours, and if at the end of that time no relative claims the dead body and no provision has been made for its interment by burial of the body or the cremated remains other than at public expense, then the custodian, superintendent or active head or public official shall notify the chief medical examiner or the chief medical examiner’s representative that the custodian, superintendent or active head or public official has the body, and, upon demand by the chief medical examiner or the chief medical examiner’s representative, shall deliver or surrender the body to the chief medical examiner or the chief medical examiner’s representative or to either of their order.
Notification shall be made in any manner that the chief medical examiner shall direct and all the expense of notification and delivery or surrender of the body shall be at the expense of and shall be borne by the institution obtaining the dead body.
If the chief medical examiner or the chief medical examiner’s representative, upon receipt of the notification, does not, within seventy-two (72) hours, make a demand for the body, then the body or the cremated remains shall be buried as provided by law or cremated in accordance with Â§ 68-4-113. The public official or the custodian, superintendent or active head of such institution as referred to in subsection (a) may, in such person’s discretion, choose to have the body cremated prior to burial.
No custodian, superintendent or head of a charitable or penal institution or public official shall charge, receive or accept money or other consideration for any body.
The chief medical examiner may, by proper instructions, have the body embalmed by such person as the chief medical examiner may direct, and, to the person performing this work under the chief medical examiner’s instructions the institution receiving the body shall pay a reasonable compensation.
No person who has died of any contagious or infectious disease shall be held to be within Â§Â§ 68-4-102 — 68-4-109, unless proper precautions, as prescribed by the chief medical examiner, are taken to prevent the spread of contagions or infections.