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Reporting heat-related deaths: message from the BC Coroners Service

Jul 5, 2021

A message for B.C.'s Nurse Practitioners from Dr. Jatinder Baidwan, Chief Medical Officer, BC Coroners Service

We have seen unprecedented heat this last week and are aware that this has affected the health of a great many of our citizens.

Where heat is considered in any way contributory to death, the death is reportable to the coroners service. Please do not issue any medical certificates of death if you feel that heat may have played a part in the death.

Many people with co-morbidities are far more susceptible when exposed to even small changes in temperature.

Please keep this in mind and refer any deaths to the coroners service that you suspect may have been either caused by heat (hyperthermia) or where heat may be a contributing factor. The coroners service will review the case and issue the certificate of death if appropriate. As you can imagine the coroners service is receiving far more referrals than usual.

To report a death please call 1-855-207-0637.

All heat related deaths need to be classified as accidental, death certificates for accidental deaths can only be issued by coroners. The ICD-10 coding for heat related is X30: Exposure to excessive natural heat.

Thank you for your help in making sure we recognise the full effect that this weather pattern has had on the citizens of BC.