Article Text

PDF

Death certification: an audit of practice entering the 21st century
  1. B Swift,
  2. K West
  1. Department of Histopathology, Sandringham Building, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Infirmary Square, Leicester LE1 5WW, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr B Swift, Department of Histopathology, Sandringham Building, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Infirmary Square, Leicester LE1 5WW, UK

Abstract

Aims: Death certification, a legal duty of doctors, continues to be poorly performed despite Royal College recommendations and increased education at an undergraduate level. Therefore, the current performance of certifying doctors was audited within a large teaching hospital entering the new century.

Methods: A total of 1000 completed certificate counterfoils were examined retrospectively for appropriateness of completion and the ability to construct a logical cause of death cascade.

Results: Only 55% of certificates were completed to a minimally accepted standard, and many of these failed to provide relevant information to allow adequate ICD-10 coding. Nearly 10% were completed to a poor standard, being illogical or inappropriately completed.

Conclusions: The results show no improvement in the state of certification. Possible interventions to improve outcomes are discussed; however, in light of a recent high profile legal case a current Home Office review of death certification may suggest the passing of statutory law to ensure accurate completion.

Statistics from Altmetric.com

Footnotes

    Request permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.