A death certificate is a legal document that certifies a patient's passing and includes the date, time, and cause of death. The medical portion of the death certificate is to be signed by the physician (MD, DO), advance practice registered nurse (APRN), physician assistant (PA), or pathologist, according to Connecticut Public Act No. 04-255. Maureen Weaver’s 2005 article summarizes this public act.
The Autopsy Service makes every effort to ensure the medical portion of the death certificate is properly filled out to expedite the release of a patient into the care of a funeral home or cremation service. Since only the medical portion is filled out, the Autopsy Service cannot release the death certificate to the family directly.
The funeral home or cremation service will complete the demographic portion of the death certificate and file the completed document with Vital Statistics in New Haven. The funeral director provides the family with one certified copy of the death certificate. Please contact your funeral home or cremation service for more information or visit the Department of Public Health website for questions regarding how to obtain additional copies of the death certificate.