Death Certificate Tips

It is very important to properly fill out a death certificate and the cause of death. Below are some tips to help guide you through filling out a death certificate. Whether it's your first time filling a death certificate, or the 100 time, below are some good reminders worth reviewing each time you need to complete a death certificate.

Make sure to complete the following:

Enter the underlying disease that caused death
Only list things that actually contributed to the cause of death
Make sure to enter the Manner of Death (Box 39)
Complete "Due to" in Box 36 Part 1 to form a logical sequence (A due to B due to C, etc.) 
Line A MUST ALWAYS have an entry. 

Example: 
A. Rupture of myocardium
B. Acute myocardial infarction
C. Coronary artery thrombosis
D. Atherosclerotic coronary artery disease 

Common errors to avoid:

Do not list items in Box 36 if they do not form a logical sequence. 
There shouldn't be any nonspecific mechanisms listed (shock, sepsis, cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, etc.). Make sure to always list the actual disease that caused the mechanism. 
Avoid using the term intracranial hemorrhage, make sure to specify the type and etiology of the hemorrhage. 
If listing ESRD or CHF, you must list the disease that caused the organ to fail. 
Always call the Medical Examiner to certify deaths from trauma (hip fractures) or toxicity (drug overdose)

Stop to consider any NON-Natural causes for any of the following:

Failure to thrive
Sepsis
Seizures
Cerebral Palsy
Plegia of any kind
Brain or intracranial bleeds of any kind 
Aspiration pneumonia 
Malnutrition
Dehydration

Include the cause of any of these, 
as appropriate. 

To view the entire death certificate tips document, click here.