Reason for Death

I try to mark a patient as dead and followed this document:

But so far I’m not successful. There is a difference between the description of the global property reasonForDeath between the wiki and my implementation. The wiki says “Fully Specified name of the Concept Set created as Reasons for death” while my database contains “Concept id of the REASON FOR DEATH Concept Set”.

I’ve tried both approaches (each with restarting OpenMRS):

  1. specify a concept ID of a concept set only including the concept Unknown
  2. add { Unknown } straight into the global property.

In both cases the reason for death remains empty.

Try using “Fully Specified name (string) of the concept set for reasons for death” in the global property.

@cine Can you check this documentation, and see if this helps:

OK. Works as Vinkesh described. Thanks.

This brings up a few followup questions for me, which I simply put all in here:

  • Is this the ‘main way’ to mark a patient as dead?
  • I can specify a date of death at the death information, but it is a freetext field accepting everything. If I pull out a patient through OpenMRS I can see that this patient deceased but I don’t see any death date.
  • Where do I see on the clinical app if a patient is marked as deceased?
  • Do you have any plan to also automatically update the outcome of program enrollments? E.g. currently a deceased patient is still in the enrolled state and needs to be manually updated.
  • Would it make sense to prevent further data entry for deceased patients?

Hi Christian,

I have tried to answer some of the questions below.


This is actually a date field. Not sure why it is showing as a free text.

Right now we don’t show this data.

Seems like a good idea.

I am not sure if it would be that straight forward. Maybe providers need to enter more detailed observations in ObsTemplate (e.g. filling up death certificate after marking patient as dead).


As a meta-comment: these conversations and clarifications seem very helpful. Can we do something to ensure that we improve the documentation as a result of them?

E.g. might we give @cine a wiki account to make edits? or could @vinkesh be more diligent about clarifying the wiki documentation and replying with “I have clarified it in the wiki page to say (paste)”?

Just figured out that I was using Firefox (OS X); with Chrome the date picker comes up and the death date is shown within OpenMRS.

Was going through the system requirements page and saw that Firefox is if at all only supported under Windows. So my mistake, sorry.

This seems like quite an important piece of information; especially for high volume clinics with a high risk of “reused patient identifications”. I think this should at least be clearly mentioned on every page.

As a suggestion for how to approach this… @burke and I iterated on this a few times in the reference application and ended up with the following:

  • the background of the patient header is a different color from usual (this is quickly noticeable by anyone who has spent significant time using the system)
  • There’s a prominent highlighted death message



I agree @darius. I am working on looking at these questions, and coordinating with Teresa to get cards created for documentation updates / review based on the answers by Vinkesh. Vinkesh has also pinged me cases where he feels documentation is incorrect or can be clarified. Those are also being incorporated.

Hi @cine

Thanks for this suggestion.

What do you mean by “reused” ?


Was simply trying to say that patients sometimes use identifications from others to show up at the clinic. This can happen for a variety of reasons and circumstances. And for a dead patient I want to make sure that his/her identification is no longer active/in use.