Friday, June 15, 2012

Official Cause of Death (finally)

I know I already did one blog post today, but this warrants another one...

Yesterday, Pete woke me up with an official letter: we had finally received Toby's death certificate. Therefore, we now have an official cause of death.

Toby's cause of death is listed as "Sudden Unexplained Death of an Infant" (SUDI). His death may or may not be included in SIDS statistics, it varies by states.

So why does it say that instead of SIDS? Nobody knows. Some people think that coroners are leaning more toward SUDI rather than SIDS due to the fact that SIDS has the word "syndrome" in it. Since a "syndrome" has to have symptoms and the only symptom of SIDS is death, it is arguable that the terminology is off. Others say that ALL sudden deaths of an infant are called SUDI and that SIDS is essentially an offshoot of that. Basically, though, it means the same thing. It's just the wording.

When I announced this, some people assumed that I was upset over the wording. I am not. SUDI or SIDS-it's the same thing. Both mean that all other causes of death were eliminated and nothing was found to determine the reason behind his passing.

It is a relief to finally get his death certificate and know for sure. There were many things his death could have been: Chiari Malformation, Biotinidase deficiency, stroke, seizure, acid reflux, heart attack, infection...Now we know for sure that those have been ruled out. Well, we sort of know that those have been ruled out. There are some genetic and metabolic disorders that are so rare (and even unheard of) that they aren't regularly looked for in autopsies. So maybe we'll never know for sure what caused his death. But at least we know that he wasn't sick and we missed it. And we've always known that it wasn't suffocation or asphyxiation.

I feel a little better having received this news because it's been hanging over our heads for awhile. It took us nearly two years to get the death certificate so you can imagine what we have been feeling. The coroner told us at the time that it would probably be labeled SIDS, especially since he showed no signs of illness, but we had never received that official COD.

I am going to request the autopsy report, too, and look at it. It interests me and I want to know what it says and what things they looked for. But, for now, the death certificate has me satisfied. 

1 comment:

Katie (LukeGrantsMom) said...

I am glad you finally got a death certificate. I was annoyed I had to wait more than 6 weeks.