What To Do When Someone Dies

The first thing to remember is to keep calm. Let family and friends know first before the other organisations.   A death has to be registered by law. A criminal offence is commited if you do not register it.

In the event of a death you should contact the person’s doctor immediately. A doctor must certify that death has occurred and will issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. Once the certificate is issued the body can then be taken by the Funeral Director.

If the cause of death cannot be determined then the Doctor will refer the death to the coroner. A post mortem examination, also known as an autopsy, is undertaken by a pathologist. This is a detailed examination both externally and internally to establish the cause of death. The Medical Certiciate is different to the Death Certificate. The Medical Certificate is needed before you can register the death, Once you register the death you will be givem the Death Certificate.

Death at Home

The normal procedure would be to contact the deceased’s doctor to visit the house. If the doctor is satisfied with the cause of death a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death will be issued. Dependent upon the time of day when death occurred you might delay calling the doctor especially if it is in the middle of the night. 

An ambulance should be called if the person did not have a doctor or you do not know the doctor's name. If the doctor is unsure about the cause of death, the death must be reported to a coroner and the body will be taken to a hospital mortuary, where a post mortem may take place.

Death in Hospital or Care Home

Unless present when death occurs, the relatives will be notified by the hospital or care home as soon as possible. The hospital’s Bereavement Office (Patient Affairs) will deal with the formalities. They will arrange for a hospital doctor to issue the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. You will need to make arrangements to collect this and any personal belongings from the hospital. You will have to arrange for the Funeral Director to collect the body who will take it to their chapel of rest.   

Sudden Death

When someone dies unexpectedly, the Coroner is automatically involved in most sudden or unexpected deaths.  There are many reasons why this can happen. From violence, to accidental deaths or by other unusual causes.

Death in Other Areas and Abroad

If death occurs away from home then the initial formalities will be completed by the Doctor or Hospital staff in that area. If relatives wish to bring the deceased home for the funeral then the arrangements in both areas, including transport, can be taken care of by ourselves. Should death occur abroad then our staff can advise accordingly as to what options are available.

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