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Madadin M, Alhumam AS, Bushulaybi NA, Alotaibi AR, Aldakhil HA, Alghamdi AY, Al-Abdulwahab NK, Assiri SY, Alumair NA, Almulhim FA, Menezes RG. J. Forensic Leg. Med. 2019; 68: e101864.


Department of Pathology, College of Medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia.


(Copyright © 2019, Elsevier Publishing)






A death certificate is an official document in which the medical practitioner primarily records the cause of death sequence, the time interval between the onset of the cause of death and death, and personal details of the deceased. Errors in death certificate documentation are not uncommon. We aim to review the common errors in writing the cause of death certificate in the Middle East. For this review, we searched the PubMed database using a comprehensive search strategy to identify studies from the Middle East that reported errors in the cause of death certification from inception to August 17, 2019. Of the 308 items initially identified, 5 were eligible for inclusion. These studies were reported from only a few countries (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Lebanon and Palestine) in the Middle East and did not represent all the countries geographically located in the Middle East. The Middle East is not immune to errors in the medical certification of the cause of death. The absence of the cause of death, inappropriate listing and sequencing of the causes of death, mentioning the mechanism or mode of death instead of the cause of death, absence of time interval between the onset of the cause of death and death, use of abbreviations and symbols instead of formal medical terminology, and absence of the certifying medical practitioner's signature were the commonly death certification errors observed in this regional literature review. Additional studies to assess death certification errors in all the Middle East countries are needed. Efforts should be made to compulsorily include the teaching and learning of the cause of death certification in the undergraduate medical curriculum. Interactive workshops on drafting the cause of death certificate should be periodically conducted for the benefit of the interns and residents.

Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd and Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine. All rights reserved.

Language: en


Cause of death certification; Death certificate; Middle East


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