Korean J Leg Med.  2008 Nov;32(2):101-104.

Defect in Post-mortem Examination System Reviewed by the Realities of Death Certificate Issuing

  • 1Department of Forensic Medicine, Western District Office, National Institute of Scientific Investigation, Jeonnam, Korea. ysk007@nisi.go.kr


Death certificate is one of the most important medical documents for public health surveillance and it serves a tool for national health statistics. The authors analyzed 125 cases of death certificate for suspicious death from 276 medico-legal autopsy cases. When compared to autopsy results, almost all death certificates were inaccurate and inadequate for estimation of cause of death and manner of death. To decide a man's cause of death or manner of death is not easy job, even though for forensic pathologist after completing dissection and toxicological analysis. The authors think that inadequate death certificate is originated from insufficient medical education system and imperfect postmortem examination system. It may cause covering up the serious crime. The authors assert to reform the issuing system of death certificate, especially separation of death certification by attending physician and certification for death on arrival cases. The summary of present study is as follows ; 1. 52 cases (41.6%) did not follow the new form of death certificate ruled by law. 2. 66 cases (52.8%) were undetermined on the manner of death in death certificate, 3. Matching rate of cause of death and manner of death between death certificate and autopsy result was 56.8% (71 cases) and 36.8% (46 cases), respectively. 4. There were many critical or trivial faults in writing of death certificate, for example omission of direct cause of death or manner of death determination or serial number, etc.


Autopsy; Cause of death; Manner of death
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