Friday, April 18, 2014

Changing the Cause of Death...

The cause of death on Dad's death certificate is still bothering me.  It's actually doing more than that... it brings me to tears of frustration and hurt every time I think about it.  I really thought I could let it go, but it crushes me to know that he suffered from this terrible disease for over 9 years and he is technically not a statistic.  All the hard work we do to make a difference and to find an eventual end to this disease is all because of him and for the millions of families dealing with this disease every day.
When I was in D.C., a friend of mine and fellow Alzheimer's Advocate shared with me that she is fighting to have her Mother's cause of death changed.  I had already come to tears that day thinking about it and felt that it was consuming me because there was nothing I could do.  She has changed my thinking and has offered to help me.  
She sent so many resources to her Mother's Doctor including a link to death statistical data tables from California Dept of Public Health proving that Alzheimer's Disease IS a cause of death and an article similar to the one I shared a few blog posts ago that stated Alzheimer's kills more people than previously thought because the disease is under-reported as cause of death.
I feel like I need to prepare for my day in court in order to convince this doctor, who doesn't even know me or my Dad, to change the cause of death.  

First on my list was to call the Mortuary because they will need to be involved at some point.  The woman was extremely helpful and didn't seem to think I would get much push-back from the Doctor (it sounds like people request changes on the death certificates often and that this specific doctor will usually amend it).  She actually says that many people request that Dementia be REMOVED from the cause of death!  I can't believe that.  The stigma of Alzheimer's still exists.  Birth and Death records are pretty powerful, I guess.  They become History.  They are always the first thing you find when you dig into your ancestry. 

Our plan is this:  She put in the request today and will hear back by Monday or Tuesday, but will call me Tuesday no matter what.  Could it really be this simple?  I don't know....

If that doesn't work, I found out that the Doctor's office is 1/4 mile from my house, so I can always stage a sit-in.  Just kidding... sort of.  Let me just put it this way... I plan to be persistent on the matter.

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