Research Article

Confirmation of death.

Br Med J 1980; 281 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.281.6242.717 (Published 13 September 1980) Cite this as: Br Med J 1980;281:717
  1. M S Christian,
  2. J K Gosnold,
  3. P N Kersley

    Abstract

    A working party set up to study the problems surrounding the confirmation of death investigated current practice by means of a questionnaire sent to a random sample of accident and emergency departments in district general hospitals. Of the 38 replying, 24 said that bodies were examined in the ambulance, four in the accident and emergency department, and 10 in both. Answers to the other questions also suggest that the present procedures are in general unsatisfactory, and some dissatisfaction was expressed by departments. The individuals and organisations consulted were unanimous that confirmation of death should not be carried out in the ambulance. A change of practice would, however, create practical problems. The working party recommends therefore that the standard practice should be for all bodies to be properly examined by a doctor in the accident and emergency department, and that funds should be made available for any building alterations and increase in staff made necessary by such changes.