The sequence of certification

A Doctor or Nurse Practitioner who attends a body after death must address a number of issues:
1. Is the person dead? - confirm death
2. Who is the dead person? - confirming the identity
3. Should this case be referred to the Coroner?
- the case should be discussed with whanau - do they have any concerns about the death?
- referrals from a public hospital: complete a Hospital Record of Death and fax it to the Coroner office
- section 46C of the Burial & Cremation Act: an exception to contacting the Coroner: selected cases of accidental death in the elderly.
- if the case is accepted by the Coroner, the attending practitioner should not fill in a death or cremation certificate.
4. If the case is not a Coroner's case: can the practitioner complete the death certificate?
- covered in section 46B of the Burial & Cremation Act
- a death certificate must be completed by a practitioner who attended the person in the last illness … as soon as possible.
- there are strict criteria where another practitioner can complete the certificate if the attending practitioners are unavailable.
- If not eligible to complete the certificates, the attending practitioner should ensure that the eligible practitioner is notified.
5. Which death certificate to use?
- 2 different certificates: for stillbirth/neonatal deaths (up to 28 days after delivery) or the standard certificate.
6. Cremation certificates
- the criteria for filling in these are more stringent
- the certifying practitioner must examine the body of the deceased
- a death certificate must be completed
- as well as a Cremation Certificate Form B