Death entails the irreversible loss of those essential characteristics which are necessary to the existence of a living human person and, thus, the definition of death should be regarded as the irreversible loss of the capacity for consciousness, combined with irreversible loss of the capacity to breathe. This may be secondary to a wide range of underlying problems in the body, for example, cardiac arrest.

For people suffering cardiorespiratory arrest, death can be diagnosed when a registered medical practitioner, or other appropriately trained and qualified individual, confirms the irreversible cessation of neurological (pupillary), cardiac and respiratory activity.

When a person dies, a number of steps need to be completed to allow legal registration of the death and for a funeral to take place, and the first step is verification of death.



The purpose of this document is to provide guidance on verification of death.

This task can be undertaken by all registered doctors and in situations where there is an organisational policy such as this, after appropriate training and assessment; and in certain circumstances, by registered nurses.


Policy Details

Download: PDF version
Compiled by: Paul Darling-Wills, Operational Lead for Resuscitation
Ratified by: Resuscitation Committee
Date Ratified: June 2024
Date Issued: June 2024
Review Date: June 2027
Target Audience: All staff
Contact name: Paul Darling-Wills, Operational Lead for Resuscitation


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