How and Why to Get a Certificate of Cause of Death in SG
Dealing with paperwork is the last thing that you want to do when you’re grieving the loss of a loved one. But alas, it’s something that you must deal with one way or another in order to proceed with funeral rites.
In this quick guide, we’ll talk about one of the primary paperwork that you need to obtain first—the Certificate of Cause of Death (CCOD). We’ll answer the most common questions you might have about it, including what it is and why you should get it.
What is the CCOD?
Simply put, a CCOD is an official document certifying that an individual’s death resulted from known and natural causes. In Singapore, only a licensed medical practitioner may fill up this document.
When talking about natural causes, it means that the person has passed away due to old age or a health condition or illness. On the other hand, unnatural causes of death include homicide, suicide, or accidents.
How do I obtain a CCOD?
It will depend on the location where the person has passed away.
When a death takes place at home, you must immediately call a doctor that can do a house call on short notice. You may also call your family doctor or your loved one’s attending physician if they have an existing illness.
In the case of a pre-existing illness, your family doctor may issue a CCOD right away. Otherwise, you must have valid clinical records of your loved one ready to help the attending doctor certify the cause of death.
If you’re unable to get in touch with a doctor, call the police so they can help you transport the body to the mortuary, who will determine the cause of death and issue the CCOD.
Be sure to bring your loved one’s medical records, consumed medicine, as well as their IDs (including yours). A Coroner will inform you if an investigation or an autopsy needs to be conducted.
If the death occurred in the hospital, the doctor will immediately issue the CCOD on the spot, which you can collect from the ward nurse.
If the death occurred overseas, you may liaise with the corresponding foreign authorities of the host country, including the Singaporean embassy or consulate and hospital. You’ll need this to arrange for repatriation so you can bring back your loved one’s body to Singapore.
Why should I obtain a CCOD?
In order to register your loved one’s death, you need to obtain a CCOD first. Along with this, you should also bring your loved ones identification cards.
Prior to registration, your family should decide whether the body will be cremated or buried. This information is required when registering the death.
Is an autopsy required?
Not always. An autopsy is only required if the Coroner deems it necessary.
The Coroner may request an autopsy if the death has occurred suddenly without any clear reason. It may also be requested if the death is suspected to happen due to unnatural causes.