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September 10, 1910

Current Comment

JAMA. 1910;55(11):950-952. doi:10.1001/jama.1910.04330110050021

OSTEOPATHS CANNOT SIGN DEATH CERTIFICATES  A New York court has decided that local boards of health cannot recognize death certificates issued by osteopaths until a coroner has made an investigation. The decision sustains the position taken by the corportation counsel of the City of New York. In rendering the decision, Judge Putnam said, "While the state has wisely allowed the practice of osteopathy, it does not follow that it thereby holds one without any practice in surgery or experience in prescribing drugs as fully qualified to certify the cause of death...The sanitary code is discriminatory but the discrimination is not personal or arbitrary. It is based on a limitation which the osteopath may be said to make for himself and deprives him of no right he ought to exercise consistent with the public safety." The essential point in the decision is Judge Putnam's statement that the limitations of osteopathy have been made by the osteopath.