A study of selected death certificates from three dublin teaching hospitals

Yvonne Doyle*, M. Harrison, F. O'malley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


One hundred death certificates were compared over two time periods with the corresponding autopsy reports on the cases to ascertain if the causes of death from the two sources were similar. There was poor concordance between the two and it seems likely that reasons for requesting an autopsy did not extend to using the information to complete the death certificates. There were 55 errors on 45 certificates, and 19 certificates were so inaccurate as to warrant a change in the underlying cause of death. In only 10 cases was the certificate signed before the autopsy report was available; however, should clinicians have wished to add autopsy findings to the certificate later, there is no facility on the Irish death certificate to do so. A revision of the format of the certificate is recommended.An examination of death certificates from varied medical sources would be welcome to see if the serious errors identified in this study are more widespread.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-123
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


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