Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dad is not an official statistic!

Shortly after Dad's death (like a day after), I already began wondering what his death certificate would say.  I guess you could say I became slightly obsessed and curious.  It's very important that Dad becomes a statistic of this horrible disease.  The mortuary guessed it would say Dementia of some sort.....

Here is what it says:

Cause of Death:  Cardiopulmonary Arrest  (immediate cause)
Then other "conditions leading to cause" are listed as:  Probable Myocardial Infarction & Coronary Artery Disease

Then listed below under "other significant conditions contributing to death but not resulting in the underlying cause":  Advanced Dementia; Hypertension.

I am insulted and incensed.  This doctor did not know my Dad but shouldn't his files have said something?!  Any and all of Dad's health problems are from Alzheimer's (or dementia).  He did have high blood pressure, but that's it.  Those heart issues, the fact that he was in a skilled nursing facility, his weight loss... all of it stems from Alzheimer's.  I believe that my Dad would have lived a long time if he did not have that disease.  He was physically very healthy.

So, when an article came out in the Washington Post two weeks ago stating that a new study ranks Alzheimer's as the 3rd leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer because of misleading death records, I believe it.  The article states that "death certificates for many with Alzheimer’s often list a more immediate reason for death, leading to a severe under-reporting of the disease as an underlying cause."  Click Here to read the entire article.  It's very enlightening and shocking.

I am still so mad about his death certificate.  I'm trying to let it go, but if I could get it changed, I would.  It frustrates me that Dad suffered so long from that disease but it's not going on record as the one and only thing that killed him.



  1. My Dad's death certificate is almost identical, listing Alzheimer's as "other significant conditions...". I too was angry that it was not recognized that Alzheimer's caused his multiple organ failure. Sure, he was 96, and hypertension and heart disease are almost to be expected, but his only physical problem was mild hypertension. His death will not be reported as due to Alzheimer's, further skewing the statistics.
    I read the article, which was indeed enlightening and shocking. The negative comments below the article made me so angry I had to literally walk away and take a few moments to calm down. However, the positive and knowledgeable comments hopefully make up for the hopelessly uninformed and offhand remarks.

  2. It is really nice to see optimism here. That is really how you get through the hard times. Keep up the good work!

  3. Virginia, thank you for your kind words and for sharing about your Father's death certificate too. I don't think I will read the comments under that article... I had no idea they would be upsetting. :(

  4. That is so terribly sad. So sorry you have to go through this. I have a quick question and was wondering if you could email me when you have a free moment. Thanks, I hope to hear from you soon! :-)

  5. Same with my Mom! She suffered from Alz for 10 years! Alz was the reason for her death. Her heart stopped, it was stated cause: heart failure.