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Postgrad Med. 1987 Jun;81(8):245-7, 250, 253-4.

Incorrect death certification. An invitation to obfuscation.


The physician responsible for signing a death certificate has an obligation to complete the medical part of the form, which includes entering the cause of death. In a review of 384 death certificates signed by house staff and attending physicians at a university hospital over a one-year period, 59% contained errors in cause-of-death entries. The most common error was listing mechanisms rather than causes of death. Since death certificates are used in calculating basic mortality statistics, such a large percentage of error can lead to considerable statistical misinformation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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