The county coroner is involved in multiple efforts to prevent deaths on a daily basis. These efforts mostly go unnoticed by the general public because the coroner typically does them without seeking public recognition. I have listed below many of the things I do as the coroner that fall under the category of prevention.
Motor Vehicle Crash Related Fatalities
Information developed by the coroner on every decedent from a motor vehicle crash is provided to the Illinois Department of Transportation to be evaluated for things such as involvement of drug/alcohol use, seatbelt use, cellphone use, roadway conditions, vehicle information, etc. and used in prevention efforts to reduce future motor vehicle crashes.
Fire Related Fatalities
Death investigation information developed from the coroner's investigation on all decedents who die from injuries or complications related to a fire is forwarded on to the State Fire Marshal's office for use in prevention of fire related fatalities.
Violent Deaths (excluding motor vehicle crashes)
Information from the coroner's investigation in all deaths resulting from violent or non-natural circumstances is reported to the Illinois Violent Death Reporting System (IVDRS) where it is categorized for statistical purposes and evaluated to identify potential prevention efforts.
Statewide Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System (SUDORS)
Information from the coroner's investigation into all un-intentional drug overdose deaths is provided to SUDORS for data extrapolation to be used in reporting and prevention efforts.
North American SUDEP Registry
NASR collects information from coroners and medical examiners regarding results of death investigations that determined an individual died from Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP). That information is utilized nationally by physicians and researches in preventing epilepsy related fatalities.
Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC)
The Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC) is a subcommittee of the Perinatal Advisory Committee (PAC) which is an advisory board to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Information from coroner investigations of deaths of women who died within one year after giving birth is provided by the coroner to MMRC for every maternal death. The goal of this committee is to identify statewide trends in maternal mortality and, ultimately, provide recommendations to prevent maternal mortality and improve the health of Illinois residents.
Consumer's Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
Medical Examiners and Coroners Alert Project (MECAP)
The Medical Examiners and Coroners Alert Project (MECAP) is a quick-alert system designed to collect timely information on deaths involving consumer products. MECAP reviews and screens each fatality report and some reports are even assigned for investigation depending on the information determined by the coroner's investigation into a death resulting from or involving a consumer product.
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS)
Child Death Review Team (CDRT)
When a child dies, the response by the State and community to the death must include an accurate and complete determination of the cause of death, the provision of services to the surviving family members, and the development and implementation of measures to prevent future deaths from similar causes. Multidisciplinary and multiagency reviews of child deaths can assist the State and counties in reviewing child deaths, developing a greater understanding of the incidence and cause of child deaths, methods for preventing those deaths and identifying gaps in services to children and families. The Child Death Review Teams (CDRTs) also make specific recommendations to the DCFS director and the inspector general concerning the prevention of child deaths due to abuse or neglect and the establishment of protocols for investigating child deaths.
Coroner Northrup has been a member of the Champaign Area CDRT for many years and served as the former Chair of the Champaign Area Team and former Vice-Chair of the Statewide CDRT Executive Council.
Illinois Department on Aging
Elder Fatality Review Teams (FRT)
Elder Fatality Review Team Advisory Council
Both the State and community maintain a commitment to preventing abuse, neglect and exploitation of at-risk adults. This includes a charge to bring perpetrators of crimes against at-risk adults and prevent untimely deaths in the community. When an at-risk adult dies, the response to the death by the community, law enforcement, and the State must include an accurate and complete determination of the cause of death, and the development and implementation of measures to prevent future deaths from similar causes. To this end, Fatality Review Teams have been established in each of the Department’s planning and service areas. The oversight body for these teams is the Fatality Review Team Advisory Council.
Coroner Northrup has been a member of the Champaign Region FRT and the statewide FRT Advisory Council for many years.
Local High School Pre-Prom Mock DUI Crash
Coroner Northrup coordinates with school resource officers and other school officials from many Champaign County communities every year to participate in mock DUI crashes before high school proms to attempt to reduce and/or prevent student deaths related to alcohol/drug use and reckless operation of motor vehicles.
University of Illinois Student Activities Council
McKinnley Health Center
Alcohol Awareness Panel of Speakers
Coroner Northrup participates as a panelist annually in the UofI Student Activities Council alcohol awareness event. This event is intended to inform students about the dangers and consequences of excessive alcohol consumption and potential risks of harm, including death, resulting from abuse of alcohol.
Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL)/Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
All deaths at the workplace and work related deaths are investigated by the coroner. Results from the coroner's death investigation are provided to IDOL and/or OSHA to be used in reducing/preventing additional occupational injuries and deaths.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
Results from all deaths investigated by the coroner that resulted from boating related incidents are provided to the DNR for use in compiling reports and reducing/preventing additional injuries and deaths.
Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Public Swimming Pool Deaths
Results from the coroner's death investigation are provided to IDPH for all public swimming pool related drownings. This data is utilized in reducing/preventing future public swimming pool related drownings.