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Upon arriving at the home of the person who is now deceased, the attending physician will perform two tasks. Firstly, they will confirm death. They will do this by carrying out a number of simple tests to establish that the person is indeed dead, not simply in a catatonic or comatose state. Having confirmed death, the next issue is the signing of the death certificate. There are a number of requirements that must be satisfied before this can be done. Two are of particular interest.
1. The doctor must know the patient. Usually there is the requirement that the doctor has seen the patient in a professional capacity - not just to say hello at the golf club - in the past two months (the time period varies depending on the jurisdiction).
2. The doctor must be satisfied that the death is natural.
The requirement that the patient be known to the doctor can sometimes cause difficulty. Occasionally, even very sick people have little contact with the medical profession. This means that finding a doctor who could even sign the certificate can be a problem. It may therefore be wise to call your doctor for a visit prior to your suicide, complaining of a developing fever or breathlessness, perhaps some pain on deep inspiration.
When the doctor is then called after your death some days or even weeks later, it would reasonable for them to assume that you died a natural death. They don’t call pneumonia the old person’s friend for nothing.