1. This scenario is factitious and does not depict any actual event. The names used were picked at random by the author and are meant to be generic and not intended to identify any actual person.
2. A van carrying Taylor University students was involved in a traffic accident resulting in four student deaths near Upland, Indiana. Scattered personal belongings at the scene, combined with similar facial appearance, resulted in confusing identities of two female students. One girl died at the scene and the other lapsed into a prolonged coma. Misidentification was made when the purse of the deceased girl was transported to the hospital with the surviving student. The family of the surviving victim was informed their daughter died in the accident while the family of the decedent was incorrectly left with expectations their daughter would survive. The error wasn't discovered until the surviving victim awoke from her coma. The deceased girl's parents sat by the bedside of the surviving victim for five weeks, believing it was their daughter. (Kim, 2006)
3. California Government Code Section 27471(a) specifically gives the responsibility to the Medical Examiner/Coroner to locate and notify surviving family when the death comes under their jurisdiction. However, the assignment is often assumed by the police, with the MEs approval, when there are important issues such as a homicide investigation, and a police notification would be more appropriate to protect evidence and information.
4. The survey was conducted via E-mail request sent to the ABMDI-List of members belonging to ABMDI. A questionnaire containing 10 questions concerning specific agency policy and procedures was submitted. Nineteen agencies responded to the questionnaire.