HOUSE BILL 1216





                        57th Legislature

                2001 Regular Legislative Session


Passed by the House March 9, 2001

  Yeas 93   Nays 0




Speaker of the House of Representatives




Speaker of the House of Representatives





Passed by the Senate April 5, 2001

  Yeas 47   Nays 0



We, Timothy A. Martin and Cynthia Zehnder, Co-Chief Clerks of the House of Representatives of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is HOUSE BILL 1216  as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on the dates hereon set forth.




                          Chief Clerk




                          Chief Clerk

President of the Senate




Approved Place Style On Codes above, and Style Off Codes below.              




Governor of the State of Washington

                   Secretary of State

                  State of Washington



                          HOUSE BILL 1216



             Passed Legislature - 2001 Regular Session


State of Washington      57th Legislature     2001 Regular Session


By Representatives Lambert, O'Brien, Carrell and Delvin


Read first time 01/19/2001.  Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

Investigating sudden unexplained deaths of children.

    AN ACT Relating to investigating sudden unexplained deaths of children; and amending RCW 43.103.100 and 68.50.104.




    Sec. 1.  RCW 43.103.100 and 1991 c 176 s 6 are each amended to read as follows:

    (1) The council shall research and develop an appropriate training component on the subject of sudden, unexplained child death, including but not limited to sudden infant death syndrome.  The training component shall include, at a minimum:

    (((1))) (a) Medical information on sudden, unexplained child death for first responders, including awareness and sensitivity in dealing with families and child care providers, and the importance of forensically competent death scene investigation;

    (((2))) (b) Information on community resources and support groups available to assist families who have lost a child to sudden, unexplained death, including sudden infant death syndrome; and

    (((3) Development and adoption of an up-to-date protocol of investigation in cases of sudden, unexplained child death, including the importance of a consistent policy of thorough death scene investigation, and an autopsy in unresolved cases as appropriate;

    (4))) (c) The value of timely communication between the county coroner or medical examiner and the public health department, when a sudden, unexplained child death occurs, in order to achieve a better understanding of such deaths, and connecting families to various community and public health support systems to enhance recovery from grief.

    (2) The council shall work with volunteer groups with expertise in the area of sudden, unexplained child death, including but not limited to the SIDS ((Northwest Regional Center at Children's Hospital, the Washington chapter of the national SIDS)) foundation((,)) of Washington and the Washington association of county officials.

    ((Upon development of an appropriate curriculum, agreed upon by the council, the training module shall be offered to first responders, coroners, medical examiners, prosecuting attorneys serving as coroners, and investigators, both voluntarily through their various associations and as a course offering at the criminal justice training center.))

    (3) Basic training for death investigators offered by the Washington association of coroners and medical examiners and the criminal justice training commission shall include a module which specifically addresses the investigations of the sudden unexplained deaths of children under the age of three.  The training module shall include a scene investigation protocol endorsed or developed by the council.  A similar training curriculum shall be required for city and county law enforcement officers and emergency medical personnel certified by the department of health as part of their basic training through the criminal justice training commission or the department of health emergency medical training certification program.

    (4) Each county shall use a protocol that has been endorsed or developed by the council for scene investigations of the sudden unexplained deaths of children under the age of three.  The council may utilize guidelines from the center for disease control and other appropriate resources.

    (5) The council shall develop a protocol for autopsies of children under the age of three whose deaths are sudden and unexplained.  This protocol shall be used by pathologists who are not certified by the American board of pathology in forensic pathology, and who are providing autopsy services to coroners and medical examiners.


    Sec. 2.  RCW 68.50.104 and 1983 1st ex.s. c 16 s 14 are each amended to read as follows:

    (1) The cost of autopsy shall be borne by the county in which the autopsy is performed, except when requested by the department of labor and industries, in which case, the department shall bear the cost of such autopsy((; and except when performed on a body of an infant under the age of three years by the University of Washington medical school, in which case the medical school shall bear the cost of such autopsy)).

    (2) Except as provided in (c) of this subsection, when the county bears the cost of an autopsy, it shall be reimbursed from the death investigations((')) account, established by RCW 43.79.445, as follows:

    (((1))) (a) Up to forty percent of the cost of contracting for the services of a pathologist to perform an autopsy; ((and

    (2))) (b) Up to twenty-five percent of the salary of pathologists who are primarily engaged in performing autopsies and are (((a))) (i) county coroners or county medical examiners, or (((b))) (ii) employees of a county coroner or county medical examiner; and

    (c) When the county bears the cost of an autopsy of a child under the age of three whose death was sudden and unexplained, the county shall be reimbursed for the expenses of the autopsy when the death scene investigation and the autopsy have been conducted under RCW 43.103.100 (4) and (5), and the autopsy has been done at a facility designed for the performance of autopsies.

    Payments from the account shall be made pursuant to biennial appropriation:  PROVIDED, That no county may reduce funds appropriated for this purpose below 1983 budgeted levels.


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