Death certificates

Death certificates.  What are they?  What information is on these?  As much as physicians want to preserve life, death certificates are also a bread-and-butter duty of physicians, especially family physicians.

There is a great deal of information on the death certificate.  It records the cause and manner of the person’s death.  These circumstances are used in many ways.  This information is sent to federal agencies, like the CDC.  This information is collated and this helps decide which medical conditions receive research and development fundal, helps  set public health goals, helps measure health status (at local, state, federal, and international levels.)

What is the pathway for this death certificate?  Indeed many people help fill out this document.  First, the death occurs, then the funeral home initiates a death certificate, then they send this to the certifier (often the physician, although sometimes a nurse practitioner or the coroner), then to the registrar for finalization.

What is the “cause of death?”  It is the physician’s best medical opinion.  This must be filled out (in Nevada) within 48 hours of receipt of the death certificate.

What is on the certificate?

  • date of death.
  • time of death.
  • social security number,
  • cause of death,
  • death due to a communicable disease?
  • did tobacco use contribute to the death?
  • If a female (age 5-75), there is additional information like whether they were pregnant within the past year.

The Nevada program is called the EDRS. Electronic Death Registry System.

Cause of Death.  If it is pending, then a coroner will fill this out.
“Immediate cause” is the final cause (example: pneumonia).  “Due to a consequence of”  (example: a bedridden patient).  So, for the example above, a bedridden patient contracted pneumonia and pneumonia was the final cause of death.  Was an autopsy performed?  Did tobacco use contribute to death?  Was the patient pregnancy (and, if so, when?)

  • NOT ACCEPTABLE CAUSES OF DEATH: Cardiac arrest, cardiopulmonary arrest, respiratory arrest, failure to thrive, multiple organ system failure, respiratory failure.

Manner of Death.

  • Often this is “natural causes.”
  • If it is not a natural cause, the coroner may need to address manner of death.
  • Injury is another manner of death (For example:  a fall may cause a hemorrhage and the blood loss causes death).

I hope I addressed all the questions you had about Nevada death certificates.

About drlesliegreenberg

I have been practicing as a family physician for over 20 years--as both an educator of physicians and clinician. From infancy to the elderly, I perform obstetrics and general medicine. I love my career and am passionate about my field of knowledge and my patients. Follow me on Facebook at Leslie Md Greenberg Medical Disclaimer The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.
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