It’s not uncommon for people to die in hospital, in fact latest figures show that 44% per cent of deaths were in hospitals in the UK and that means there are certain procedures already in place. In this article we explore what happens when someone dies in hospital.
Support, both practical and emotional, is offered in hospitals when someone passes away. If you wish, you can view the body and then it will be taken to the hospital mortuary while you arrange for its collection by the funeral director.
A hospital doctor will issue a medical certificate that states the cause of death, and this has to be produced when the death is registered. The medical certificate will be places in a sealed envelope addressed to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
The hospital will also give you all the information you need about how to register the death.
What happens if the cause of death is unknown?
When someone dies in hospital and the cause is unknown a post-mortem examination will be carried out. Hospital doctors can find out more about an illness or cause of death this way.
What happens if a post-mortem is needed?
There are two types of post-mortems
- Coroner’s post-mortem examination – for example, if a death was sudden, or violent.
- Hospital post-mortem examination
Post-mortems are sometimes requested by hospital doctors to provide more information about an illness or the cause of death to further their medical knowledge.
A post-mortem will happen as soon as possible – within two to three working days after the person passed away. It may be possible to view the body beforehand depending upon the circumstances.
During the procedure the body is opened up and organs are removed so that they can be examined.
While the cause in some cases can be determined simply by looking at the organs, it may be necessary for further investigation which might take several weeks to complete. Once the post-mortem has ended the organs will be returned to the body.
How long do you have to wait to hold a funeral for someone who dies in hospital?
When a person dies in hospital and there is no need for a post-mortem, then a funeral could be held within a matter of hours of the person’s passing. It will take longer if no plans for a funeral have been made yet, or if a post-mortem is required and there needs to be a coroner’s report.