Why regular deceased screening is critical

A woman was left devastated this week after receiving Covid-19 test results through the mail for her husband – despite the fact that he passed away in September.  

It is not yet known what caused the father-of-two's tragic death, but current health advice states that any deceased person receiving a post-mortem must be tested for Covid-19 for the safety of the doctors. 

Talking to RTE Radio One, Aisling O’Donoghue, the bereaved wife said it was upsetting that the results of the test that was carried out after his passing were addressed to him as if he was still alive and doesn't want this to happen to other grieving families. 

She added that she can’t understand why there wasn’t a note affixed to her late husband’s Covid test stating that he was deceased. 

Instead, the letter that came through her door, containing the results, were addressed to her husband and said: “Private and Confidential, for the Addressee Only". 

Other than an incredible lack of attention to detail, what this incidence shows is that it is critical for organisations of every type to not only scan their data against deceased suppression files, but to scan regularly.  

It is never nice to receive mail in the name of someone that has passed away, but when the bereavement is still very recent it is incredibly distressing and upsetting for the family members left behind. Under GDPR Article 5a it is now a legal requirement for organisations to ensure that their data is up to date, including regularly removing the names pf people that have died from the database. However, how often this is carried out is unspecified. In the UK more than 1,400 people die each day and sadly as a result of the pandemic, this figure is rising. It has therefore never been more important for organisations to commit to regular data hygiene regimes to avoid causing further suffering to the bereaved at an already difficult time. 

Mortascreen contains the most up-to-date deceased data with around 10,000 new notifications being added each week. The majority of these deaths have taken place in the previous two weeks. Data is processed on a daily basis and outputs are available on a weekly basis.