J Agric Med Community Health.  2010 Mar;35(1):89-98.

Accuracy of Death Certificates Completed by Medical Students

  • 1Graduate School of Public Health Chungnam National University, Korea.
  • 2Department of Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, KyungPook National University, Korea.
  • 3Department of Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, Wonkwang University, Korea.
  • 4Department of Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, Chonnam National University, Korea.
  • 5Department of Nursing, Chonnam Techno College, Korea.
  • 6Department of Preventive Medicine, Research Institute for Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, Chungnam National University, Korea. hsnam@cnu.ac.kr


OBJECTIVES: The purpose
of this research was to evaluate the ability of completing death certificates among medical students.
The self-administered questionnaires were completed, during May to August 2007, by 380 medical students in senior. The questionnaire was composed of 10 cases to write the death certificate. The cause-of-deaths written by students were compared with the gold standards and their errors in the certificates also evaluated.
Mean agreement score for 10 underlying cause-of-deaths completed on the lowest line of part I in the death certificate (UC1) was 4.8+/-1.7, and for underlying cause-of-death selected by a coder of the death certificates (UC2) was 5.6+/-1.5. The UC1 and UC2 were significantly higher among the students having the case-oriented education for death certificate than others. For the major errors in the certificates completed by students, the students having the error with no antecedent cause were highest, the error with two or more conditions secondly highest. Mean number of errors was significantly lower in the case-oriented education group than others.
Errors are common in the death certificates completed by medical students in senior. The accuracy of death certification may be more improved with the case-oriented education than the traditional method.


Death certificate; Medical education
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