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Utah Office of the Medical Examiner

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Death Certificate Information (Physicians)

OME Death Certificate Review

You may be contacted by an investigator from the OME to clarify information on death certificates  that have been forwarded to us from Vital Statistics. 

Death certificates filed with the Utah Department of Vital Statistics may be forwarded to our office for review if:

  • The cause of death listed falls under the jurisdiction of Utah Health Code 24-6-7 and the death has not been reported to the OME.
  • A request is made for cremation or for transport of the remains out of the state.
  • Confusing or questionable causes of death are listed. 

Box 24, Part 1 of a Utah Certificate of Death states “Enter the chain of events – diseases, injuries or complications – that directly caused the death.  DO NOT enter terminal events such as cardiac arrest, respiratory arrest, or ventricular fibrillation without showing the etiology”. 

Cardiac and/or respiratory arrest are considered ‘mechanisms’ of death and not ‘causes’ of death.  Everyone dies of cardiac arrest and therefore should not be listed as the “Immediate Cause of Death” unless an etiology is put forth on the next line(Due To).  The causes of death should explain the series of disease processes or chain of events following trauma that led to the death of the individual. 

Please be aware that an incorrectly completed death certificate will delay disposition arrangements for the family until these issues are resolved.  If you have any questions regarding how to fill out a death certificate or to screen a death please contact our central office (801-816-3850) as soon as possible following the death. 

Helpful links for preparing a Death Certificate: 

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