THE COMMITTEE that revised the national death certificate model for 1989 has provided more detailed instructions for the cause-of-death section and added two examples of how to fill it out. One illustrates a possible natural cause (a heart attack), and the other, a traumatic cause (an automobile accident).
Further instructions and more examples appear in an accompanying handbook, the Physicians' Handbook on Medical Certification of Death (Dept of Health and Human Services publication [PHS]87-1108).
Committee members (a subgroup of the Panel to Evaluate the US Standard Certificates and Reports) also added more space in the cause-of-death section itself. "We're seeing that physicians enter more and more detailed information," says Harry M. Rosenberg, MD, National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, Md. "It [the section] has been too cramped."
How Much Is Enough?
Daniel Fife, PhD, director of research at the New Jersey Department of Health, Trenton, suggests that just adding space