What To Do When Someone Dies

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What To Do When Someone Dies 2017-03-24T08:35:41+00:00

NATURAL & UNNATURAL CAUSES OF DEATH

Nothing prepares you for the emotional shock of losing someone close, even if the death has been expected.

In this section, we have to distinguish between NATURAL and UNNATURAL CAUSES, as there is a vast difference in the procedures to be followed.

Here are a few guidelines that may be of assistance:

NATURAL CAUSES

(Death as a result of illness, i.e. Heart Attack, Stroke, Cancer, etc.)

    • Phone your appointed Funeral Director. (Contact us if the Deceased is in the Pretoria/Centurion/Midrand or surrounding areas.)
    • If no storage facilities are available at the Hospital, your appointed Funeral Director might have to collect the Deceased from the ward.
    • Hospital staff will arrange for a Medical Doctor to issue the Notification of Death (BI1663).
    • If the Deceased is to be a cremated, please inform the Funeral Director, so that they can make arrangements for any additional documentation that is needed.
    • Your Funeral Director will collect the Deceased and the Notification of Death (BI1663) from the Hospital.
    • Please remember to collect any personal belongings from the Hospital.
    • If the Deceased has been hospitalised as a result of Unnatural Causes, eg. a Motor Vehicle Accident, and subsequently passed away after a period of time (days/months/years), the death may NOT be considered to be as a result of “Natural Causes”.
    • Death in an operating theatre, while still under local anaesthetics, is NOT considered to be a Natural Death (if the Deceased did not regain his/her consciousness after an operation).
    • Death whilst having an epileptic fit, is NOT considered to be a Natural Death, even if the Deceased was under medical treatment for epilepsy.
    • If during working hours, the first contact should be with the Medical Doctor who last treated the Deceased.
    • If satisfied with the Cause of Death, the Medical Doctor will agree to issue the Notification of Death (BI1663).
    • Your appointed Funeral Director will collect the Notification of Death (BI1663) from the surgery.
    • In the case of a Nursing Home death, their staff should liaise with the Medical Doctor.
    • Contact us once you have informed the Medical Doctor, if the Deceased is in the Pretoria/Centurion/Midrand or surrounding areas.
    • If death occurs during the night, it is not standard practice anymore for a Medical Doctor to do house calls after hours when someone passed away.
    • If no foul play is suspected, your appointed Funeral Director may remove the Deceased and liaise with the Medical Doctor the next day.
(presumably from Natural Causes)

    • Contact us as soon as possible if the Deceased is in the Pretoria/Centurion/Midrand or surrounding areas.
    • We will advise on the procedures involved and liaise with the necessary authorities.
      Your appointed Funeral Director can give guidance and advice as far as possible to assist you.
    • If the Deceased has not been under a Medical Doctor’s care on a regular basis, the emergency staff might get the Police involved, who will inform the relevant Forensic Pathology Services (if necessary).
    • If the South African Police Services gives a Clearance Certificate that the deceased died from Natural Causes, your appointed Funeral Director may collect the Deceased.
    • If Forensic Pathology Services is instructed to collect the Deceased, the Pathologist will decide if a Post Mortem is to be done to ascertain the Cause of Death.
    • Sonja Smith Funeral Group (Pty) Ltd can also arrange for a Private Post Mortem to be done where someone has died from Natural Causes.
    • Contact us by phone or visit one of our branches and we can make all the necessary arrangements.
    • Sonja Smith Funeral Group (Pty) Ltd is a registered Importer/Exporter and authorised to handle the Repatriation of Human Remains.

UNNATURAL CAUSES

(Death as a result of other causes, eg. Motor Vehicle Accident, Murder, Suicide, Poisoning, Drowning, etc.)

(or if declared Dead on Arrival)

  • Phone your appointed Funeral Director, who can give guidance and advice as far as possible to assist you.
  • (Contact us if the Deceased is in the Pretoria/Centurion/Midrand or surrounding areas.)
    Hospital staff will contact the South African Police Services.
  • Forensic Pathology Services will collect the Deceased.
  • It is important not to remove any medical devices (eg. drips, needles, catheters, etc.). Leave everything intact, so as not to tamper with any evidence.
  • A Post Mortem will be done by the Pathologist to ascertain the exact Cause of Death, whereafter they will issue the Notification of Death (BI1663).
  • If the Deceased is to be a cremated, please inform the Funeral Director, so that they can make arrangements for any additional documentation that is needed.
  • The Deceased will have to be identified by a family member/friend at Forensic Pathology Services.
  • Please remember to take along your ID-Document (if you are doing the identification), as well as the ID-Document of the Deceased.
  • The Forensic Pathology Services staff member will ask the person identifying the deceased to nominate a Funeral Director in writing.
  • This form is to be provided to the Forensic Pathology Services to enable the Funeral Director to collect the Deceased.
  • We recommend that you ask a friend to assist you with this task. Do not see this as an opportunity to pay your last respects or say your goodbyes.
  • Sonja Smith Funeral Group (Pty) Ltd can assist families with the identification process, by accompanying the family member/friend to the Forensic Pathology Services as part of our services.
  • Your Funeral Director will collect the Deceased and the Notification of Death (BI1663), as well as any additional documentation (if applicable), from the Forensic Pathology Services.
  • Please remember to collect any personal belongings from Forensic Pathology Services/Investigating Officer.
  • If the deceased has been hospitalised as a result of Unnatural Causes, eg. a Motor Vehicle Accident, and subsequently passed away after a period of time (days/months/years), the death might NOT be considered to be as a result of “Natural Causes”.
  • Death in an operating theatre, while still under local anaesthetics, is considered to be an Unnatural Death.
  • Death whilst having an epileptic fit, is considered to be an Unnatural Death, even if the Deceased was under treatment for epilepsy.
  • Contact the South African Police Services (Flying Squad 10111 or your closest Police Station).
  • The Police will send an Officer to take down the necessary statements.
  • The Officer will liaise with the Detective on duty.
  • The Detective will contact the Police Photographer and Forensic Pathology Services, who will collect the Deceased.
  • Phone your appointed Funeral Director, who can give guidance and advice as far as possible to assist you.
  • (Contact us if the deceased is in the Pretoria/Centurion/Midrand or surrounding areas.)
  • It is important not to tamper with any forensic evidence on the scene.
  • A Post Mortem will be done by the Forensic Pathologist to ascertain the exact Cause of Death, whereafter he/she will issue the Notification of Death (BI1663).
  • If the Deceased is to be a cremated, please inform the Funeral Director, so that they can make arrangements for any additional documentation that is needed.
  • The Deceased will have to be identified by a family member/friend at Forensic Pathology Services.
  • We recommend that you ask a friend to assist you with this task. Do not see this as an opportunity to pay your last respects or say your goodbyes.
  • Sonja Smith Funeral Group (Pty) Ltd can assist families with the identification process, by accompanying a family member/friend to the Forensic Pathology Services as part of our services.
  • The Forensic Pathology Services staff member will ask the person identifying the Deceased to nominate a Funeral Director in writing.
  • This form is to be provided to the Forensic Pathology Services to enable the Funeral Director to collect the Deceased.
  • Your Funeral Director will collect the Deceased and the Notification of Death (BI1663), as well as additional documentation (if applicable), from the Forensic Pathology Services.
  • Please remember to collect any personal belongings from Forensic Pathology Services/Investigating Officer.
  • If the Deceased was involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident/Drowning Accident, etc. and left paralyzed/disabled and subsequently passed away after a period of time (days/months/years), the death could be considered to be as a result of “Unnatural Causes”.
  • Death whilst having an epileptic fit, is considered to be an Unnatural Death, even if the deceased was under treatment for epilepsy.

“When someone close to you has died, inform your Religious Leader (i.e. Minister, Pastor, Priest) as soon as possible. They will provide support on spiritual and emotional level when you need it most.”

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