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THE COMMITTEE that revised the national death certificate model for 1989 has provided more detailed instructions for the cause-of-death section and added two examples of how to fill it out. One illustrates a possible natural cause (a heart attack), and the other, a traumatic cause (an automobile accident).
Further instructions and more examples appear in an accompanying handbook, the Physicians' Handbook on Medical Certification of Death (Dept of Health and Human Services publication [PHS]87-1108).
Committee members (a subgroup of the Panel to Evaluate the US Standard Certificates and Reports) also added more space in the cause-of-death section itself. "We're seeing that physicians enter more and more detailed information," says Harry M. Rosenberg, MD, National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, Md. "It [the section] has been too cramped."
How Much Is Enough?
Daniel Fife, PhD, director of research at the New Jersey Department of Health, Trenton, suggests that just adding space
Suzann, Silverman. What's Been Added to 1989 Certificate? Well... JAMA. 1989;261(16):2305–2306. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420160021006
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