County of los angeles death certificates

The presence of bedsores was stricken from one certificate.

Birth and Death Records

Anemia vanished from another. The certificates Sanders provided The Times do not show evidence of concealing crimes or accidents. All the deceased were older men and women who died of predictable causes, usually in hospitals and of diseases of long duration. The changes appear to be concerned primarily with tidying up paper work requirements in the death certification process.

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In many cases, certificates appear to have been rewritten for no apparent reason, or to meet regulations such as the requirement that doctors fill them out only in black ink. While most physicians interviewed by The Times were unhappy to see the altered certificates--reactions ranged from mild annoyance to outrage--two expressed sympathy for funeral homes. James C. Meltzer, a Beverly Hills internist whose name was signed to one of the certificates checked by The Times.


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Authorities have created pressure to circumvent the system by a ridiculous insistence on perfectly clean paper work, said Dr. Jack Ditlove, a Beverly Hills nephrologist whose name appeared on two death certificates that he said he did not sign. The Jewish tradition provides a person should be buried when the details are taken care of. It is morally, ethically and legally wrong. That is becoming a common practice, especially since many hospitals are now asking for them to complete their records.

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The department acquired an investigator for such cases less than two years ago and this is the first case with a basis to look into, he said. About two years ago, he consulted an attorney about the practice, but was advised that he did not have enough evidence to support his charge, he said, and so he began collecting the torn and discarded original certificates when he was alone in the mortuary at night.

The other three mortuaries handled their own death certificates, he said, and he is unfamiliar with their practices. He expected to be fired anyway when his accusations were made public, he said.

Los Angeles City, California, death records 1905-1930

But although he is a state licensed funeral director, he was not planning on a mortuary career. He worked in the funeral home to support himself while he tries to get a start in acting and writing, he said. He has written two book-length manuscripts, neither of which has been sold, he said.


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