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Medical certification of cause of death

Dead-on-arrival cases

The certification of 'dead-on-arrival' (DOA) cases varies from country to country. In some settings, such cases are passed on to coroners or the police, and sometimes not included in COD statistics reported by the hospital. Attributing the correct COD is difficult because only an autopsy can provide the necessary information and is not always performed. As a result, a high proportion of DOA cases are assigned to ill-defined or nonspecific causes, which are of no value for health purposes. Application of verbal autopsy would be an option to arrive at a COD in DOA cases when there are no available health records to provide evidence for a possible COD.


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