December 11, 1987

Cause of Death-Reply

Author Affiliations

Penrose Hospital Colorado Springs, Colo

Penrose Hospital Colorado Springs, Colo

JAMA. 1987;258(22):3253. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400220052018

In Reply.—  Since publication of the article concerning proper completion of the death certificate in the July 17, 1987, issue of JAMA, I have been delighted at the interest that has been voiced in this topic. Discussion of the issues surrounding cause of death on death certificates is a welcome sight in the medical literature. Any time that clinical examples are used, and in particular difficult examples, there is ample room for a divergence of opinion. As stressed in the article on cause of death, the attending clinician is the one individual best able to assess the medical history to determine what disease process started the sequence of events leading to death. To rely on the physician closest to the decedent may not be perfect, but is still our best means of obtaining information about the cause of death.Dr Kaplan's letter raises an interesting issue. In case 2, hemoperitoneum