MASSACHUSETTS - DEATH CERTIFICATES

January 1, 2008

Massachusetts state laws and regulations that affect your medical practice

1. When may a physician declare a pronouncement of death, based upon neurological criteria?

Certain procedures must be implemented when rendering a diagnosis of death based on failure of brain function. Death by brain criteria is defined as the total and irreversible cessation of spontaneous brain function, in which further attempts of resuscitation or continued supportive maintenance would not be successful in restoring such functions. Brain death is the irreversible loss of the clinical function of the whole brain, including the brain stem. If the patient is under the care of a non-neurological physician, then an attending neurologist or neurosurgeon must be consulted to assist in the diagnosis of brain death.

105 MA ADC 800.004

The following is required: date of death, names of deceased, including birth surname for women, social security number, sex, race, marital status, education, name of spouse if ever married, supposed age, residence, occupation, place of death, place of birth, names and places of birth of the parents, birth surname of the mother, disease or cause of death, defined so that it can be classified under the international classification of causes of death, place and type of immediate disposition.

M.G.L.A. 46 § 1

Copyright Kern Augustine Conroy and Schoppmann, P.C. Used with permission.