Providing Compassion in Death

Cindy Tate

Riverside Medical Center’s (RMC) Cindy Tate serves multiple disciplines in the community. She is an RMC facilitator for the ThedaCare Improvement System (lean). Outside of RMC, she is on-call for Waupaca County as a deputy coroner, sometimes called a death investigator — a position she’s held for eight years. Tate loves both jobs, though she admits some consider the latter to be morbid.

Tate responds to the death of any individual who passes away in Waupaca County. She becomes responsible for the deceased, and part of that responsibility is to document all evidence with pictures and reports. 

“From the time I get out of my vehicle, to the time I get back into my vehicle, I document the scene with my camera,” explained Tate. “I am responsible for the deceased until I have gathered sufficient evidence to release the body for final disposition.”

After gathering evidence, Tate determines whether the body will be transported to a funeral home or to the medical examiner’s office for a forensic autopsy. Coroners are required to attend forensic autopsy for chain of custody purposes. They also are responsible for determining the final cause of death and signing the death certificate. 

“My ultimate goal is to tell the story of the deceased and be their final voice,” she said. “I feel a sense of accomplishment being able to determine what transpired and explain it to the family to provide them closure.”

Tate holds a bachelor’s degree with a major in biology, a double minor in psychology and criminal justice, and an emphasis in forensics. She wrote her boards examination and is a Diplomat Registered Medicolegal Death Investigator.