If a patient dies 

  1. 1.The GP should always be phoned by the House Officer to let him/her know when a patient has died.

  2. 2.It is usually best to phone the Consultant and inform them of all deaths. In most cases this can be done first thing in the morning, if the patient has died during the night. However, if the death is unexpected, or has been due to a medical error, or accident in the hospital, it may be wise to let the consultant know immediately. A consultant's presence can sometimes ease the family's acceptance of events.

  3. 3.When a death occurs in hospital, the Coroner should be informed if:

    1. Death has, or might have, resulted from an accident, suicide or homicide
      There is a question of negligence or misadventure regarding the treatment that the deceased received

    2. The patient died before a diagnosis could be made and the General practitioner is unwilling to issue a death certificate

    3. Death is due to an industrial disease

    4. Death occurred while the patient was undergoing an operation or was under the effect of an anaesthetic

  4. 4.Stress: Medical and nursing staff, particularly if they are junior, often find the death of a patient distressing. Please talk to colleagues and seek help if you are anxious or upset by events on the ward.

If a patient is transferred to ICU

The doctor arranging the transfer should:

  1. 1.Inform relatives

  2. 2.Inform consultant - this may wait till the morning

  3. 3.Handover with notes and Xrays to the ICU staff

If a patient is transferred from ICU

The JHO (or other ward doctor) should:

  1. 1.Get a handover from ICU staff.

  2. 2.Get notes and Xrays (including today's chest Xray!)

  3. 3.Write a short summary in notes of what happened in ICU and what is the current status.

  4. 4.Make sure the appropriate registrar is aware of the situation (office hours - the registrar for that consultant, on-call registrar after hours)

  5. 5.Ensure ICU and registrar instructions are carried out.

  6. 6.Write up drug chart, bloods and Xrays for the next day.

  7. In effect this means clerking in the patient anew.