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What Happens When Someone Dies at Home

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Many of us hope that, when we die, we go peacefully in our sleep. We desire this for our loved ones,
as well. However, dying at home brings a set of complications for the surviving family members.
Who do you call? What do you do? This article will highlight some of the basics.

Contrary to popular opinion, you cannot simply call the funeral home and ask for the deceased
to be transported away. Funeral homes will not come to take the deceased until after the proper authorities have been called and a full medical investigation has been made.

The first call to make is to 911—whether the person in question seems to be having a stroke or heart attack or has already passed away. Know that, if the paramedics and the police arrive on the scene and the person is still alive, perhaps experiencing a cardiac episode, they will attempt to revive the person. If the individual has a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) document, make sure it is close at hand, stored somewhere in the bedroom. The paramedics will not wait for you to retrieve a DNR from the lawyer’s office. If you do not have it on hand, they will go right ahead and try to save the person who is dying.

Next, the medical examiner will arrive to help surmise the cause of death. In many cases it will be necessary for the medical examiner to find a local physician who can make the call—a process that can often take hours. Additionally, if there is any sign of foul play or anything at all suspicious, an autopsy will be required.

If the cause of death is declared and no autopsy is required, then family members may call the funeral
home. The funeral home will send a member of their staff to transport the deceased back to the funeral home or in some cases a central facility.

If you have a question about funerals,
please email me at:
1734 W. Alabama • Houston • 713.521.0066

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