When you die, you have to have your death certified by a doctor and a death certificate or a cremation certificate issued
If we have had contact with a patient in the previous two weeks and know the cause of death – if someone has been terminally ill, say – we can sign the death certificate immediately. If we haven’t seen the patient in the two weeks before their death, or if they have died after being discharged from hospital, then we must report it to the coroner, who may request a postmortem
Often the body of the deceased is left for up to an hour as a mark of respect. The procedure then typically includes the following steps, though they can vary according to an institution’s preferred practices:
1 Removal of jewellery unless requested otherwise by the deceased’s family. If left on it must be documented in the patient’s property list.
2. Wounds , including pressure sores , should be covered with a waterproof dressing. Tube insertion points should be padded with gauze and tape to avoid purging.
3.The patient is laid on his/her back with arms by their side (unless religious customs demand otherwise). Eyelids are closed.
4.The jaw is often supported with a pillow or cervical collar.
5.Dentures should be left in place, unless inappropriate.
6.The bladder is drained by applying pressure on the lower abdomen . Orifices are blocked only if leakage of body fluid is evident.
7.The body is then washed and dried, the mouth cleaned and the face shaved.
An identification bracelet is put on the ankle detailing: the name of the patient; date of birth; date and time of death; name of ward (if patient died in hospital); patient identification number
8.Next, I pack the throat and nose with cotton wool to stop fluid seepage. If the deceased doesn’t have teeth, I put cotton around the mouth to plump it out a little; if they have dentures, I put them in place. I then stitch the mouth closed from the inside. Sometimes glue is used but I do not like the white residue it can leave after it has dried. I dry the eyes and insert plastic half-moon caps under the lids to help them hold their shape, and a touch of Vaseline helps to hold them closed. If the eyes are not dried, they can give the appearance of having a tear, which may be distressing to the family.
9.The body is dressed in a simple garment or wrapped in a shroud. An identification label duplicating the above information is pinned to the wrap or shroud.
10.A stretcher drawsheet is placed under the body to enable removal to a trolley for transportation to the morgue. These trolleys may often be disguised to resemble laundry carts if transportation has to pass through areas where members of the public may be present.