J Korean Soc Emerg Med.  2000 Dec;11(4):443-449.

Problems in Completing a Death Certificate

Abstract

BACKGROUND: This study was conducted to analyze the current problems in completing death certificates and to identify the correct method for completing death certificates.
METHODS
We reviewed 262 death certificates in three hospitals from March 1 to April 30, 2000, and 119 death certificates in one hospital from March 1 to 31, 2000. We identified major and minor errors and analyzed and compared them retrospectively.
RESULTS
A total of 381 death certificates were reviewed: 59 in Seoul National University Hospital, 101 in Ewha Woman's University Hospital, and 102 in Gachon Medical College Hospital, which has no education program for completing death certificates in postgraduate training, and 119 in Samsung Medical Center which has an education program for completing death certificates. 358 certificates(94.0%) had at least one error. There were only 23 death certificates(6.0%) without an error. In 182 cases(47.8%), there was one major error. In 321 death certificates(84.3%), there were more than two errors. A comparison of Samsung Medical Center with the other hospitals showed that the number of total errors was statistically different(p=0.001).
CONCLUSION
There were few death certificates without an error in this study. In a hospital which has postgraduate training in completing death certificates, there are fewer errors than in other hospitals which have no training course. Emergency physicians actually certify many deaths, so they must know the correct method of completing death certificates for statistics on morbidity and mortality.


MeSH Terms

Death Certificates*
Education
Emergencies
Mortality
Retrospective Studies
Seoul
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