Procedures

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner operates 24 hours/7 days a week. In most cases, when we take jurisdiction of a deceased person a forensic examination will take place. Forensic examinations may include the retention of body fluids, body tissues and/or body organs for possible diagnostic purposes. The patient will be ready for release to a Funeral Director the day following the examination. Some cases may be held for a longer period of time. A completed report will take several weeks. The death certificate is filed by the Funeral Director with the Department of Public Health at 101 Grove Street. A death certificate is filed within eight calendar days after death. The cause and manner of death may be listed as "Pending Investigation". That certificate will be amended with the cause and manner of death once they are determined.

Death certificates are obtained from the Department of Public Health, Records and Statistics, 101 Grove Street, San Francisco, California 94102, telephone number (415) 701-2311. The Division of Vital Statistics, Birth and Death Registration is located on the first floor of 101 Grove Street. The Department of Public Health building is across the street from City Hall, on the South side.

For copies of records of deaths in the City and County of San Francisco, dated 1906 through December 31, 1956, please contact the San Francisco Public Library at 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, California 94102, telephone number (415) 557-4567. The records are stored within the Archives of the San Francisco History Section. Records prior to 1906 were destroyed in the ensuing fire. Contact the San Francisco Public Library to find out their charges for copy work.

Copies of records from January 1, 1957 through the present time may be obtained from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Hall of Justice, 850 Bryant Street - North Terrace, San Francisco, California 94103, telephone number (415) 553-1694. When requesting records from the San Francisco Public Library or the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, please provide the full name of the deceased person and if known the date of death and the Medical Examiner's Case Number. Please contact the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to find out the charge for copy work when requesting records. It can take up to a week to recover the records from storage.

Records can be requested or physically reviewed weekdays (holidays and weekends excluded) between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.