Ohio Bill Would Require Judge’s OK to Change Cause of Death

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio lawmakers are considering a bill that would require a coroner to get a judge’s approval before changing the cause of death on a death certificate.

The proposal comes after several people raised concerns about the Franklin County coroner’s alterations.

In one case, the office initially said 58-year-old Debra Meadows died from blunt-force trauma after her vehicle was hit by a drunken driver. But a death certificate received later said she died of cancer, and the driver escaped a felony charge of vehicular homicide.

Meadows’ family says the coroner wouldn’t explain the change. The driver eventually was sentenced to six months in jail on a reduced charge.

Republican Rep. Larry Householder sponsored the bill after hearing that story, calling the cancer determination “extraordinary.”