Author Topic: Cause of death written up as COVID when it shouldn't be - a phenomenon?  (Read 1358 times)

Blinder Data

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sorry if this thread attracts COVID deniers but just thought I'd share a story. my 64 yo stepmother died suddenly and unexpectedly a few weeks ago. according to my dad, the pathologist is likely to rule that she died of COVID and no post mortem for further investigation will take place.

this decision has angered my medically trained dad who thinks that it is almost certainly heart or head related. obvs I'm no expert but I've never heard of anyone sitting down to watch the telly, displaying no symptoms, and in a matter of minutes dying of COVID. I know that it can cause heart attacks but AIUI usually that happens after several days of symptoms and not so soon after infection. (my dad caught it at the same time as her and it took c5 days to display symptoms). I think it's possible COVID was a factor (she had it pretty badly last year) but not the ultimate cause.

I'm guessing the pathologist is snowed under and is taking the easy option. in my view this makes a mockery of an official document and will cause unnecessary distress to the family.

in the words of Morrissey, I've seen this happen in other people's lives (even on here?) and now it's happening in mine. it's extremely disquieting to know my stepmother's death will be chalked up as another COVID stat when frankly it shouldn't be.

has this happened to anyone you know? is there anything to be done?

mothman

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Re: Cause of death written up as COVID when it shouldn't be - a phenomenon?
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2021, 11:05:07 PM »
No equivalent experience to share, but sorry for your loss BD.

Zetetic

  • I wasn't supposed to be around this long, so…
Re: Cause of death written up as COVID when it shouldn't be - a phenomenon?
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2021, 10:09:17 AM »
Why does your father believe that COVID-19 will be determined to be the underlying cause of death?

Edit: Based on what you've said, it seems more likely that long 'ViD (post-infection sequelae of C19 or whatever) might end up in Part II of the certificate (contributing conditions but not part of the main sequence leading to death) but perhaps I'm being optimistic.

Zetetic

  • I wasn't supposed to be around this long, so…
Re: Cause of death written up as COVID when it shouldn't be - a phenomenon?
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2021, 10:11:56 AM »
I note that we can distinguish deaths believed to relate to C19 from those confirmed with a recent positive test in a number of ways - what's written on the death certificate (and subsequently 'coded' by ONS) will be different and we can link deaths with testing data.

MojoJojo

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Re: Cause of death written up as COVID when it shouldn't be - a phenomenon?
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2021, 12:41:51 AM »
according to my dad, the pathologist is likely to rule that she died of COVID and no post mortem for further investigation will take place.

this decision has angered my medically trained dad who thinks that it is almost certainly heart or head related.

According to your dad, the pathologist is going to say it's covid, and he's angry about that, even though it hasn't happened yet?

An incorrect cause of death isn't an important thing when your wife has just died. Anger is one of the few emotions men are allowed to show.

Just hug.

I don't know what your relationship with your step mum is, but I'm sorry for your loss.

Re: Cause of death written up as COVID when it shouldn't be - a phenomenon?
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2021, 04:30:07 PM »
Isn't this a thing generally though? My nan shuffled off at the ripe old age of 89 in October having not had a todd for weeks, and eventually perforating her bowel. Death cert included diabetes, when that had absolutely zero impact on her daily life and she wasn't even medicated. In a way Covid had more significance as everyone gave her a huge berth and she flipped her nut a bit, and as a result was comfort eating stuff her anus did not have the bandwidth for.

In certain respects it's just an admin exercise isn't it? And the modelling or decisions taken around it recognise that as the done thing?

Blinder Data

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Re: Cause of death written up as COVID when it shouldn't be - a phenomenon?
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2021, 10:35:04 AM »
Thank you for the condolences.

To clarify, COVID is the only cause of death listed on the certificate. They dragged their heels about further investigation due to safety concerns, and then considered it three weeks after her death. I'm not a pathologist obvs but is that not a bit late...?

My dad was in dialogue with the pathologist before the expected final decision, which is why he was angry. Part of him is glad she avoided a post-mortem though.

Even so, I think it's plain wrong that her death certificate does not accurately explain her death. If it's heart or brain related, it would reassure her descendants to know of any genetic issues. It doesn't help that she caught COVID off a family member and if we were to believe the certificate, that contact killed her (even though AFAIK it's impossible to instantly die of COVID). Thankfully everyone involved knows that the certificate is a nonsense so there's no bitterness there.

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