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Making the right call, even in death

The New York Times, July 3, 2013
It is one of a doctor's most important final acts in caring for a patient, even though the patient is no longer around to appreciate it. I refer, of course, to filling out the death certificate, a document that has myriad benefits for the living: establishing a legal basis for life insurance and estate settlements; providing critical information to survivors and descendants in an era of burgeoning advances in genetics; advancing knowledge about diseases, accidents and other causes of death; and much else. For all these reasons, the accuracy of the certificates should be a paramount concern for public health, both nationally and internationally.