Somewhere between 30% to 50% of death certificates explain the death of the given individual by stating an incorrect cause. This was reported in both De Standaard and Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday.
The specialists putting forward these figures are asking for the Minister of Health, Maggie De Block, and the Minister of Justice, Koen Geens to introduce a legal requirement for a post-mortem examination for all road accidents, suicides and unexpected deaths.
Currently, any doctor may complete a death certificate, even if he is appointed by the courts.
Doctors with no medico-legal knowledge are often called upon to assess the cause of death. This sometimes leads to mistakes.
For Wim Van de Voorde (of UZ Leuven – an academic hospital in Leuven associated with University KU Leuven) and his colleagues also involved in making this assessment, only forensic doctors within the profession should carry out an autopsy.
The doctor laments, “We are the only country in Europe where murder or assassination victims risk falling into the wrong hands.”
Hence, between 150 and 200 murder cases per year are never solved.