Talk:Death certificate

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False Information[edit]

Can a death certificate contain false information, for example, a wrong year of birth? Are facts and dates verified before the publication of a document?

They sure can and often do contain false information, but the vast majority of the time it's simple error. The medical examiner, court, or funeral director (depending on the jurisdiction and the cause of death) generally obtains the information on the deceased from the family. They generally require photocopies of the deceased's birth and (if any) marriage certificates, but what happens if the family doesn't have those documents? There are a lot of people out there, even in the US, who simply don't have a birth certificate. Courthouses and registries burn down; people fleeing persecution may not bring their papers with them; people living under assumed names may have discarded any relics of their old life. In those cases, survivors can only guess at things like the deceased's date of birth, place of birth, and parents' names.
There simply isn't the time and money to spend on verification. What's more, it isn't feasible, especially for deceased born in countries where there is or was no central vital statistics registry or where war has disrupted the flow of paperwork. But even in the US this can be a problem. The actor Al Lewis claimed to be born in upstate New York in 1910, but when he died it turned out that he had been born in 1923, probably in Brooklyn. However, nobody can find a birth certificate of any kind for him. --Charlene 02:10, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Police Officers Issuing Death Certificates[edit]

Is this common practice in the US? I find it hard to believe - especially regarding SIDS. In Ontario, all infant deaths are investigated by a coroner. (So saying an autopsy is rarely performed in the case of SIDS seems suspect to me.) Bockbockchicken (talk) 16:45, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

In the "Nature of a certificate" section, the paragraph that begins "In some jurisdictions, a police officer or a paramedic..." seems to conflate certifying a death by signing the death certificate with determining that a person is dead, and hence there is no need to start or continue medical treatment. Requirements vary by jurisdiction, but typically members of the public who take a short CPR course (perhaps 4 hours) are taught to always perform CPR on any person they come across who appears lifeless. Emergency medical responders and Emergency medical technicians are taught a few indications that a person is dead, so there is no need to start CPR (signs include rigor mortis and dependent lividity). Paramedics can often discontinue CPR when more advanced criteria for determining death are satisfied; this may or may not require contact with a physician by phone or radio. But filling out and signing a death certificate is a different matter. Jc3s5h (talk) 13:19, 7 July 2013 (UTC)