The Pathology Department at the Jefferson Parish Coroners Office is made up of a group of highly trained professionals including Forensic Pathologists, Death Investigators and Morgue Technicians whose primary function is to determine cause and manner of death. Under Louisiana law, many deaths are deemed to be “Coroner’s Cases” and must be investigated. Medicolegal Death Investigators perform field investigations and in certain cases refer the death to the Forensic Pathologist for autopsy to determine cause and manner of death. These cases referred for autopsy are generally when the decedent has no medical history to explain the death. By Louisiana statue, there are only TWO circumstances in Louisiana when an autopsy MUST be performed: 1) In the case of any death where there is a reasonable probability that the violation of a criminal statute has contributed to the death (Homicides).  2) Any infant under the age of one year dies unexpectedly without explanation with no underlying disease process. 
Other  cases that may require an autopsy include  suicides, deaths that are result of an accident and unexplained deaths. Death investigations can be complex in nature and require collaboration between pathologists, investigators and toxicology lab as well as crime scene technicians and homicide detectives. 
Due to the complexity of this type of work, a determination of cause and manner of death may take several weeks to complete.