NCMB frequently receives feedback from families, funeral professionals and state vital records staff that physicians and others authorized to complete death certificates often do not complete these essential records in a timely manner.
It is the position of the Board that, when requested, a licensee has an obligation to complete a death certificate to the best of his or her ability. Licensees are not expected to identify the cause of death with 100 percent certainty - giving one’s best educated case is sufficient.
Read a recent Forum article on completion of death certificates.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Handbook on Medical Certification of Death remains the authoritative resource on completion of death certificates.
For guidance on completing the “cause of death” section of a death certificate, check out these examples provided by CDC.