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Cause of death

Cause of death

Postby Russell » Sat Dec 31, 2016 12:46 am

Medical records are strictly private. But cause of death is public knowledge. Why is this?
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Re: Cause of death

Postby 3.14 » Sat Dec 31, 2016 1:31 am

Privacy doesn't apply to the dead.
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Re: Cause of death

Postby b1969 » Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:25 am

Russell wrote:Medical records are strictly private. But cause of death is public knowledge. Why is this?


For various historical, societal, public policy reasons it is important that a death be publicly registered. Recording a cause of death is integral to that.

Death certification serves a number of functions. A medical certificate of cause of death (MCCD) enables the deceased’s family to register the death. This provides a permanent legal record of the fact of death and enables the family to arrange disposal of the body, and to settle the deceased’s estate.
(from here)

3.14 wrote:Privacy doesn't apply to the dead.


True in itself. In practice it's a bit more complex. The Data Protection Act 1998 (and European law from which it derives) does not apply to the dead, but medical records themselves can and generally do remain subject to an obligation of confidence on the part of those responsible for holding/retaining them. See Information Commissioner guidance here, and some discussion of the legal authorities here.
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Re: Cause of death

Postby Russell » Mon Jan 02, 2017 5:01 pm

Indeed their is logic behind it. But generally it seems to be for rubbernecking i.e people are currently awaiting a cause of death of someone famous. I'd say maybe the media shouldn't have a right to report it unless of public interest. but with the internet it would be too easy to work around.

Thanks for the input :)
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Re: Cause of death

Postby atticus » Mon Jan 02, 2017 8:22 pm

In your case it may be rubbernecking, but for normal non voyeuristic people there are other perfectly good reasons to record a cause of death.
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Re: Cause of death

Postby shootist » Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:52 am

It's a bit like emails. Don't die of anything that would embarrass your relatives.
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Re: Cause of death

Postby diy » Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:53 pm

On a related note, its interesting in other cultures where a simple database of births can cause similarly embarrassing issues where the surname is made up of the fathers first name.
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Re: Cause of death

Postby tph » Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:25 pm

The inverse of the argument would suspicion around not knowing why someone had died. E.g. A Smith died shortly after the police arrived at the scene.
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Re: Cause of death

Postby Russell » Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:13 am

atticus wrote:In your case it may be rubbernecking, but for normal non voyeuristic people there are other perfectly good reasons to record a cause of death.


Record is fine. Why would anyone argue against that? The thread is about making public.

It is also noted, that you're trying to cause trouble. You can't help yourself can you *tut tut.
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Re: Cause of death

Postby shootist » Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:28 am

Russell wrote:Record is fine. Why would anyone argue against that? The thread is about making public.


Think a while about the cause of death being kept secret. Possibly because it wasn't actually the cause of death. Deaths in custody. Incompetently investigated deaths. If the cause, and the circumstances, of death is not made public then nobody will be in a position to challenge it.
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