Reviews of the NSW Health Policy Directive - Verification of Death - NSW Health

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In the late evening of Tuesday 6th November, my Grandmother, Elizabeth O'Kane, passed away peacefully at home having been diagnosed with Terminal Cancer in April 2018 and deciding she would pass away at home, rather than at a hospital.

We as a family had organised for her Medical Practitioner, knowing full well of her wishes and agreeing to fulfill those wishes, to visit her at home when the time came to Verify her Death and for the Funeral Directors to take her from our place of residence. The GP had been away for a few days and was not due back until Friday 9th November, and due to the lack of communication and empathy between the medical practice and misunderstanding of the roles agents play in the death industry, my Nan's wishes weren't fulfilled. Instead, Nan was subjected to events that NO ONE should ever have to experience.

On Wednesday 7th November, we had no other option to ask as a personal favour of the Funeral Directors to have her taken up to the medical practice, 13 hours after her passing, to have her verified by a doctor after being told that no other doctor would come and verify her at home and we would have to have her brought to them. (We are less than 5kms away from the practice).

Nan ended up being verified in the back of the Funeral Director's van - in a public car park - in a shopping mall. We were NOT given the option to have her taken in for a dignified verification, we were NOT offered condolences for the recent loss of our beloved family member.

Upon The Maitland Mercury reporting this horrific event ( we have now received testimony from other Funeral Directors and other community members that this has become a standard practice. THIS PROTOCOL MUST CHANGE!

I have now made it my mission to seek answers and have this matter addressed in the NSW Parliament, with Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison on board to have the matter investigated thoroughly and to clear up what protocols should be revised (in particular, who can issue a Verification of Death & Medical Certificate of Cause of Death) should the choice of death at home be the wishes of our loved ones.

Please sign and share this with all of your contacts so we can have this addressed as soon as practicable.

Josef Krausert-O'Connor & Family. 


The Petition of citizens of New South Wales, brings to the attention of the House:

           I. The alleged confusion and misinterpretation of roles and responsibilities of agents relative to the death industry with regards to the NSW Government Ministry of Health Policy Directive – Death – Verification of Death and Medical Certificate of Cause of Death.

         II. The alleged unethical, undignified and socially immoral practices of medical practitioners who either delay or refuse the issuing of a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death within the 48-hour timeframe as outlined in the aforementioned Policy Directive.

       III. The alleged exploitation of Funeral Services who, as an act of respect for the deceased and the timeframes outlined in the Policy Directive, transport the deceased to hospitals and medical centres for the issuing of a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death by a Medical Practitioner.