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Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2006 Dec;27(4):352-4.

Mind your manners: quality of manner of death certification among medical examiners and coroners in Taiwan.

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  • 1Institute of Public Health, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan.


To assess the quality of manner of death (MOD) certification among medical examiners/coroners (ME/Cs) in Taiwan, death certificates issued in 2002 for which the final MOD was suicide or undetermined were extracted for analysis. Indicators of the quality of MOD certification included (1) MOD not given by the ME/Cs; (2) MOD assigned by the ME/Cs was changed by the coder; (3) ratio between undetermined and suicide deaths (U/S ratio). There were 450 death certificates for which the ME/Cs did not assign the MOD in the original certificate. Three fifths (285/450) of them were issued by 4 ME/Cs. The same 4 ME/Cs also had extremely high U/S ratios (1.25-1.84) compared with the average (0.31). The overall quality of MOD certification among ME/Cs in Taiwan was fair; only a small number of ME/Cs had poor quality in MOD certification. The high U/S ratio among the 4 ME/Cs would certainly affect the suicide mortality rates of the counties the 4 ME/Cs were in charge of. Actions should be taken to improve the certification quality of these 4 ME/Cs.

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