A jurisdiction's law dictates who can perform this function. Many paramedical personnel will not pronounce an individual dead for fear of associated legal problems. A definite pronouncement date, place, and time is required for completion of a death certificate. This information should always be clearly stated in an investigator's death report.
Problems may arise when a subject is found in a decomposed state, since death most probably did not occur on the day that the decedent was discovered. Noting that the date of death is actually the "date of discovery" may solve this dilemma. Also, the problem of survivorship can occur when two persons (usually spouses) die as a result of the same incident. If possible, it is important to note, for insurance purposes, who expired first.
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