profession

Pressured medical residents produce faulty death certificates

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 3, 2013

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Nearly half — 48.6% — of medical residents training in New York City knowingly entered the wrong cause-of-death information on a death certificate, said a study published May 9 in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

The 521 internal medicine, emergency medicine and general surgery residents surveyed for the study said they lied about the cause of death 30% of the time. A big part of the problem is that the system used to report causes of death in New York City does not allow physicians to enter diagnoses such as septic shock and acute respiratory distress syndrome, said the study (link).

More than three-quarters of residents who gave the wrong cause of death agreed with the statement, “The system would not accept what I felt was the correct cause of death.”

Many residents said admitting personnel, medical examiners and senior residents told them to “put something else” if the true cause of death was not listed. Poor training and communication also contributed to inaccurate death reporting, the study said. About 20% of residents said they did not know the patient well enough to determine the cause of death, and 18% said, “I took my best guess.”

“Reform is needed both in the training and education of residents and in the system itself,” the study’s authors wrote.

Back to top


ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISE HERE


Featured
Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story


Read story

Goodbye

American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story


Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story


Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story


Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story


Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story


Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story


Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story