Qualified to certify?
It turned out to be a disturbing experience for Jean Adams when she did her first death certification
- By: Jean Adams
Midway through my senior rotation in surgery, teaching opportunities are getting pretty scarce. I have started to hover predatorily with my fellow students in the doctors' office, hoping to pick up snippets of information on which patients might be good to see today and which consultants might be thinking of giving a tutorial. This morning I eventually corner a house officer and ask him what he's up to. “I've got to certify someone later, if you're interested in that,” he throws out between filling blood bottles, answering his bleep, and listening to someone's heart. Finding out how to confirm someone is dead and fill in a death certificate might be interesting, if a little morbid. It's certainly something I've got to learn. It's not long before it will be me, in the middle of the night and then who will I ask? “Fine. When?” “You'll hear something,” he confirms, “just