Alive vs Dead

Bert Verhees bert.verhees at
Tue Jan 5 10:39:02 EST 2016

My two cents.

Kafka would have loved this discussion, but he is dead.

I think dead is a state, not an event with a date. Dying is an event.

Even when you don't know the date of dying, there can be proof a person 
is dead.
And even when there is no proof of a person being dead, there is law 
that says that a person can be declared dead, even when there is no 
proof, even when there is no date of dying known.
This happens sometimes with missing persons, missing in a fire, missing 
at sea, missing in the wild, etc.


On 05-01-16 14:26, Thomas Beale wrote:
> I think the orthodox openEHR view would be (see Chunlan's and Eric's 
> responses particularly) :
>   * demographic data would normally have a 'deceased status' and 'date
>     of decease' which is the administrative knowledge of the patient's
>     death, i.e. something recorded by provider admin staff
>   * EHR data would include death as an event (as Shinji says) recorded
>     by a doc, and if there is a persistent Composition containing
>     basic patient clinical info (gender, DOB, etc) it would also go in
>     there
> The HL7 view could be understood as follows:
>   * hL7v2 messages indicate changes of state in things; and I think
>     will be mainly ADT oriented, i.e. correspond to the administrative
>     change to the openEHR demographic data
>   * FHIR's view is a query - meaning depends on what resource it is
>     coming from; it could be administrative or clinical event (Grahame?)
> - thomas
> On 05/01/2016 06:43, Heather Leslie wrote:
>> Hi everyone,
>> Seeking some advice please.
>> In the context of a data registry or research database to record if a 
>> person is alive or dead. Maybe there might be an alternative value of 
>> ‘unsure’ or ‘indeterminate’ as well, I guess.
>> I’m wondering if there is any naming convention for this data element 
>> – I’ve come across ‘Alive status’ and ‘Vital status’ by googling and 
>> researching all the places I can think of. Surprisingly there seems 
>> very little available on the topic. SNOMED CT has alive and dead 
>> within the ‘General clinical state finding (finding)’ hierarchy, 
>> although ‘deceased’ is part of the ‘Finding related to general body 
>> function (finding)’ hierarchy.
>> ‘Living status’ was proposed on a forum, but seems a bit weird if 
>> they are dead.
>> To add to the confusion, the requirements I am modelling uses the 
>> name ‘Status’ (which needs some sort of archetype context) and the 
>> values are ‘Alive’ and ‘Deceased’ which cross the SNOMED CT hierarchies!
>> We could just be very pragmatic and label the data element ‘Alive vs 
>> Dead?’
>> Curious problem – I thought there would be more on the internets J.
>> Any wisdom you can share would be most appreciated.
>> And then I guess we need to think of related data elements that might 
>> be grouped with this status.
>> Regards
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