Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 12. Health
Agency 5. Department of Health
Chapter 550. Board of Health Regulations Governing Vital Records

12VAC5-550-350. A proper and complete medical certification of cause of death defined.

A complete and properly executed medical certification of cause of death shall mean the entry by a physician or medical examiner of a definite medical diagnosis of the underlying cause of death and related conditions following the instructions indicated on the death certificate. This may be variously:

1. Supported by clinical findings of the physician who attended the deceased for the illness or condition that resulted in death;

2. Supported by tentative clinical findings that may or may not be supported by the gross findings of an autopsy; or

3. Supported by autopsy findings where necessary to establish a definite medical diagnosis of cause of death.

In cases where an autopsy is to be performed, the physician or medical examiner shall not defer the entry of the cause of death pending a full report of microscopic and toxicological studies. In any case where the autopsy findings significantly change the medical diagnosis of cause of death, a supplemental report of the cause of death shall be made by the physician or medical examiner to the registrar as soon as the findings are available. (As examples: If it is clear that a patient dies of "cancer of the stomach," report the cause while a determination of the histological type is being carried out. Similarly, if it is clear that a death is from "influenza," do not delay the medical certification while a laboratory test is being carried out to determine the strain).

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-273 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR355-29-100 § 10.1, eff. April 1, 1995.

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