The cause of death may vary, dependingon each observer’s viewpoint of the situation.The trauma surgeon who is unsuccessful in controlling bleeding from a laceration in an auto crash victim might perceive hemorrhage as the cause of death. To the pathologist who conducts the autopsy, the cause of that person’s death might be blunt force trauma.To an epidemiologist who studies mortality patterns, automobile accident might constitute the cause of death. Such varied viewpoints made it necessary for me to acquire knowledge in this area. The Coroner would formulate and put into words a cause of death for a death certificate, an autopsy report, or other medical documents using a format similar to the cause of death section on the death certificate and I transferred this information to the certificate.
To foster a viewpoint of the cause of death, the Coroner has to maintain concepts and certain terms in a manner that is clear to all readers. The emphasis on definitions seemed excessive, but it was important to provide clarity regarding causes of death.
Causes of death, whether appearing on death certificates or else¬where, are collected and used by governmental, public health, or other agen¬cies for scientific study, decision making, planning, legislative change, or research and public health funding prioritization. It was therefore important that cause of death determinations be approached consistently, and that cause of death statements be meaningful. Concepts, definitions, and instructions had to be designed to achieve such goals.
The term cause of death is used in the specific context of the death certificate format for indicating why a person has died, whether the cause of death is actually written or spoken.
When the Coroner indicated the cause of death on a death certifi¬cate and signed the certificate attesting to the cause of death he then became referred …

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