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Register January 2009 No. 637
Chapter DHS 135
HUMAN CORPSES AND STILLBIRTHS
DHS 135.01   Purpose and authority.
DHS 135.02   Definitions.
DHS 135.03   Responsibility for notification of death.
DHS 135.04   Removal from a hospital or nursing home.
DHS 135.05   Preparation and funeral.
DHS 135.06   Transportation and burial or other disposition.
DHS 135.07   Disinterment.
DHS 135.08   Pronouncement of death outside of a hospital or nursing home.
DHS 135.09   Jurisdiction and duties of coroner or medical examiner.
Ch. DHS 135 Note Note: Chapter HSS 135 as it existed on January 31, 1993, was repealed and a new chapter HSS 135 was created effective February 1, 1993. Chapter HSS 135 was renumbered chapter HFS 135 under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 1., Stats., and corrections made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 6. and 7., Stats., Register October 1999, No. 526. Chapter HFS 135 was renumbered chapter DHS 135 under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 1., Stats., and corrections made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7., Stats., Register January 2009 No. 637.
DHS 135.01 DHS 135.01 Purpose and authority. This chapter and ch. DHS 136 regulate the preparation, transportation and disposition of human corpses and stillbirths for purposes of protecting the health of the public and properly registering deaths. The chapter is promulgated under the authority of ss. 69.02 (2), 250.04 (7) and 157.01, Stats., to interpret and contribute to the implementation of ss. 69.01 to 69.12, 69.18, 250.04 (1), 157.01 and 979.10, Stats. Nothing in this chapter shall prevent a member of the immediate family from preparing the corpse of a family member for burial, except as provided in s. DHS 135.05 (1) (b), or from conducting the funeral of a deceased family member.
DHS 135.01 History History: Cr. Register, January, 1993, No. 445, eff. 2-1-93; corrections made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, August, 1995, No. 476 ; correction made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7., Stats., Register January 2009 No. 637.
DHS 135.02 DHS 135.02 Definitions. In this chapter:
DHS 135.02(1) (1) “Common carrier" has the meaning prescribed for “common motor carrier" in s. 194.01 (1), Stats., and in addition includes a vehicle using rails, air or water to transport persons or property.
DHS 135.02(2) (2) “Cremation permit" has the meaning prescribed for a release to cremate in sub. (18).
DHS 135.02(3) (3) “Death certificate" means the form prescribed and supplied by the department which contains such items of information as the department judges necessary to identify the decedent and to certify the cause or causes of death.
DHS 135.02(4) (4) “Department" means the Wisconsin department of health services.
DHS 135.02(5) (5) “Disinterment permit" means the form prescribed by the coroner or medical examiner to authorize removal of a human corpse from a grave or tomb and which contains items of information that are necessary to identify the deceased, the date and place of death, the current place of interment, the intended place of interment, the name of the person requesting the disinterment and the name of the person in charge of the disinterment.
DHS 135.02(6) (6) “Disposition" means, in reference to a human corpse or stillbirth, burial, entombment in a mausoleum or separate vault, temporary storage, cremation or donation for scientific research or teaching use.
DHS 135.02(7) (7) “Embalming" has the meaning designated in s. DHS 136.02 (1).
DHS 135.02(8) (8) “Fetal death report" means the form prescribed and supplied by the department for reporting a stillbirth resulting from miscarriage, of gestational age 20 weeks or more or having a birthweight of 350 grams or more.
DHS 135.02(9) (9) “Final disposition" means, in reference to a human corpse or stillbirth, burial, entombment in a mausoleum or separate vault, cremation, delivery to a university or school under s. 157.02 (3), Stats., or delivery to a medical or dental school anatomy department under s. 157.06, Stats.
DHS 135.02 Note Note: For cremation after burial, entombment or donation, a cremation permit must be obtained under s. DHS 135.06 (3) (a).
DHS 135.02(10) (10) “Funeral director" means a person who is licensed under s. 445.04, Stats., to prepare human corpses for burial or other disposition, or to direct and supervise the burial or other disposition of human corpses.
DHS 135.02(11) (11) “Gestational age" means, in reference to stillbirths, the age of a fetus expressed in weeks, dating from the first day of the mother's last normal menses to the date of delivery.
DHS 135.02(12) (12) “Immediate family" means, in order of decisionmaking priority, spouse, adult children, parents, adult brothers and sisters, grandparents, and adult grandchildren of the decedent.
DHS 135.02(13) (13) “Interment" means, in reference to a human corpse, burial or entombment in a mausoleum or separate vault.
DHS 135.02(14) (14) “Local health officer" has the meaning prescribed in s. 250.01 (5), Stats.
DHS 135.02(15) (15) “Local registrar" means the county register of deeds or the city health officer in a city which has been approved by the state registrar under s. 69.04 (1), Stats., as a registration district.
DHS 135.02(16) (16) “Notice of removal" means the form prescribed and supplied by the department or reproduced from the form prescribed and supplied by the department for notifying and recording the removal of a human corpse from a hospital or nursing home by a funeral director, member of the immediate family or other authorized person.
DHS 135.02(17) (17) “Registered apprentice funeral director" means a person who is issued a certificate of apprenticeship under s. 445.095 (1), Stats., to be employed as an apprentice to a funeral director.
DHS 135.02(18) (18) “Release to cremate" means the form supplied by the county coroner or medical examiner which provides written permission required under s. 979.10 (1), Stats., for cremation of a human corpse and which contains information necessary to identify the deceased, the date and place of death, a description of the cause and manner of death, the name of the person requesting the cremation, the name of the funeral director or person acting in place of the funeral director and the date and time the release takes effect, and which specifies that no authorization is given to override the wishes of the next of kin.
DHS 135.02(19) (19) “Release to embalm" means the form supplied by the county coroner or medical examiner which provides written permission required under s. 979.01 (4), Stats., for embalming a human corpse in the case of a death subject to investigation under s. 979.01, Stats., and which contains information necessary to identify the deceased, the date and place of death, the name of the funeral director or person acting in place of the funeral director and which specifies that no authorization is given to override the wishes of the next of kin.
DHS 135.02(20) (20) “Report for final disposition" means the form prescribed and supplied by the department or reproduced from the form prescribed and supplied by the department for the purpose of recording the facts of a death and reporting those facts to the coroner or medical examiner of jurisdiction under s. 69.18 (3), Stats., and to the local registrar in the registration district in which death was pronounced. This form serves as the official “burial transit permit" for transporting a human corpse out of state or by common carrier.
DHS 135.02(21) (21) “Stillbirth" means a fetus born dead, irrespective of the duration of pregnancy, with death indicated by the fact that after expulsion or extraction from the woman, the fetus does not breathe or show any other evidence of life such as beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord or definite movement of the voluntary muscles.
DHS 135.02(22) (22) “Universal precautions" means universal blood and body fluid precautions to be practiced by funeral directors and registered apprentice funeral directors in removing bodies and preparing them for burial or entombment or for transportation, as recommended by the U.S. public health service's centers for disease control, to prevent transmission of blood-borne and body fluid-borne infections.
DHS 135.02 Note Note: A copy of the universal precautions may be obtained from the Bureau of Occupational Health, Division of Public Health, P.O. Box 2659, Madison, WI 53703.
DHS 135.02 Note Note: Inquiries concerning death certificates, fetal death reports, notices of removal, reports for final disposition and disinterment permits should be sent to Vital Records Section, Division of Health Care Access and Accountability, P.O. Box 309, Madison, Wisconsin 53701.
DHS 135.02 History History: Cr. Register, January, 1993, No. 445, eff. 2-1-93; correction in (14) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, August, 1995, No. 476; corrections in (4) and (7) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 6. and 7., Stats., Register January 2009 No. 637.
DHS 135.03 DHS 135.03 Responsibility for notification of death.
DHS 135.03(1)(1) When a person dies, the funeral director or, if a funeral director is not involved, a member of the immediate family of the deceased, shall present or mail a completed death certificate to the local registrar in the registration district where death was pronounced within 9 days after the date of pronouncement of death.
DHS 135.03(2) (2) For a stillbirth resulting from miscarriage and of a gestational age 20 weeks or more or weighing 350 grams or more, the hospital, clinic or midwife or, if a hospital, clinic or midwife was not involved with the delivery, a parent, shall within 5 days after the delivery mail a completed fetal death report to the local registrar in the registration district where the delivery took place.
DHS 135.03 History History: Cr. Register, January, 1993, No. 445, eff. 2-1-93.
DHS 135.04 DHS 135.04 Removal from a hospital or nursing home.
DHS 135.04(1)(1) Holding, pending decision of relative, friend or public authorities. Hospital or nursing home authorities shall make provision for holding a human corpse until a relative, friend or the public authorities determine what disposition shall be made of the remains. The hospital or nursing home may cause a body to be removed that is unclaimed after 12 hours from the time of death and following due notice to the local health officer, unless a longer period of time is required to complete an autopsy.
DHS 135.04 Note Note: See s. 157.02, Stats., for disposition of the corpses of persons who have died at state, county or municipal institutions.
DHS 135.04(2) (2)Delay for autopsy. Except for cases which involve a coroner or medical examiner because a death has occurred under circumstances specified in s. 979.01, Stats., whenever the immediate family has requested or approved an autopsy, the funeral director or member of the immediate family or other person authorized to remove the body from the hospital shall delay making the removal for up to 10 hours after death, or for a longer period of time if the pathologist and funeral director mutually agree on a longer period of time, to permit completion of the autopsy.
DHS 135.04(3) (3)Presentation of removal notice. The hospital or nursing home may not release a corpse to a funeral director, member of the immediate family or other person authorized to remove the body until the funeral director or other person making the removal presents a notice of removal, in duplicate, to the administrator of the hospital or nursing home or to his or her representative. The hospital or nursing home administrator or that person's representative shall complete, to the best of his or her knowledge, the portion of the notice which specifies if isolation techniques should be used in the embalming process and shall indicate whether the death is reportable to the coroner or medical examiner under s. 979.01, Stats. One copy of the removal notice shall be retained on file by the hospital or nursing home for a minimum of 30 days and the other shall be forwarded immediately by the hospital or nursing home to the local registrar in the registration district where death was pronounced. No presentation of a notice of removal is necessary for removal of a stillbirth unless a hospital requires that notice for internal recordkeeping purposes, in which case no copy of the notice is forwarded to the local registrar.
DHS 135.04 History History: Cr. Register, January, 1993, No. 445, eff. 2-1-93.
DHS 135.05 DHS 135.05 Preparation and funeral.
DHS 135.05(1) (1) Preparation for burial or for entombment.
DHS 135.05(1)(a)(a) In removing bodies and preparing them for burial or other disposition or for transportation, the funeral director and registered apprentice funeral director shall use universal precautions and otherwise exercise all reasonable precautions to minimize the risk of transmitting any reportable communicable disease from the corpse.
DHS 135.05 Note Note: Reportable communicable diseases are those listed in ch. DHS 145.
DHS 135.05(1)(b) (b) Any member of the immediate family of a deceased person may prepare the body for burial or other final disposition, except that no person may embalm a corpse unless that person is licensed as a funeral director, and no member of the immediate family may prepare a corpse for burial or other final disposition if there is risk of transmitting a communicable disease from the corpse, either because a communicable disease was the cause of death or the individual had a communicable disease at the time of death, unless the local health officer determines that the risks of transmitting the disease from the corpse are minimal.
DHS 135.05(1)(c) (c) A corpse need not be embalmed when prepared for burial, entombment or cremation unless it is to be shipped by common carrier as provided under par. (d).
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Published under s. 35.93, Stats. Updated on the first day of each month. Entire code is always current. The Register date on each page is the date the chapter was last published.