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Errors in filling WHO death certificate in children: lessons from 1251 death certificates

Journal title
Journal of tropical pediatrics
Publication year
Gupta, N.; Bharti, B.; Singhi, S.; Kumar, P.; Thakur, J. S.

Our objective was to identify the frequency and types of various pediatric death certification errors. All available death certificates (n = 1424, from January to December 2005 and from January to July 2007) were retrieved from medical record library in a tertiary pediatric hospital. These were analyzed retrospectively (66%) and prospectively (34%) for the year 2005 and 2007, respectively. Only 11% of death certificates were filled accurately. In the remaining 89%, the total number of errors ranged from 0-5 per death certificate. The most common major and minor errors were "improper sequencing" (50.3%) and "absence of time interval" (74.7%), respectively. The combination of major and minor errors was observed in 51.9% of the certificates. The frequency of errors was significantly less in prospective data as compared with retrospective data (p < 0.05). Given the high rate of errors, there is an urgent need to design relevant training programs to streamline this dismal situation.

Research abstracts