Intended for healthcare professionals


Medical error reporting must take necropsy data into account

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: (Published 01 September 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:511
  1. James Sington, specialist registrar in cellular pathology,
  2. Barry Cottrell, consultant histopathologist
  1. John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DU
  2. Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge CB2 2QQ

    EDITOR—Responding to correspondence relating to medical error, organ retention, and death certification,1 we wish to communicate the results of our study comparing causes of death on death certificates with those at 440 hospital necropsies, in which substantial discrepancies were identified.2

    The sensitivity of the death certificate in predicting cause of death was 0.47, with a range from 0.90 in the neurological system to 0.28 in the cardiovascular system. Sensitivity for malignant causes of death on …

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