Careers: EMT/Emergency Medical Technicians/Medical Practices

Advertisement


Question
Hello, I'm a writer, and I'm trying to find some reality in a situation that's been done to death by Hollywood, namely whether it's possible for a person to fake their death? Even if someone was pronounced dead on arrival to a hospital, wouldn't a doctor or coroner have to investigate the cause of death? A person who "died" on the way to the hospital wouldn't just be wheeled to the morgue, would they? Can you tell me anything about this?

Answer
Hi William,

Any death outside of a hospital is thoroughly investigated as a potential crime. And this usually means involvement of the ME.

About the only way I could imagine this happening would be for the supposed dead person to somehow obtain a body that matches their own and allow this body to go through the autopsy process with the false identification. Care would have to be taken to prevent the body from being ID'd; fingerprints and dental records for example. They don't routinely take DNA for an ID of someone who they supposedly know. Might make for an interesting read if the person were to find someone who matches them looks wise, murders them, and then summons the authorities; "Someone killed Jack Smith here - come quick!" With the caller being anonymous the authorities would start working the problem like it was indeed "Jack Smith". A fake ID on scene with a photo of the dead guy prior to death but the id of the person who wants to fake their own death would seal the deal.

Alternatively certain religions do not allow an autopsy. Authorities could be called but told "It is my friend, Jack Smith. He is a NAME OF RELIGION HERE - I know he would not want an autopsy but we need help here; I think he's dead."

Hope this helps!
Jim Wilson

Careers: EMT/Emergency Medical Technicians

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Jim Wilson

Expertise

I can answer questions regarding training, education, and experiences as well as providing some incite into the world of Emergency Medical Services.

Experience

I have over 25 years of experience in EMS, Fire, and Air Transport.

Organizations
AHA Professional Premium Professional

Education/Credentials
BS, AS, EMT-P, ACLS (and instructor), BLS (and instructor), PALS (and instructor), PPC (and instructor), BTLS (and instructor), PHTLS, and NALS. Have instructed EMT and Paramedic in Florida since 1986.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.