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An independent panel has begun a probe into an additional sixty-three fatalities, prompted by claims that a former employee of Launceston General Hospital (LGH) in Tasmania fabricated death certificates.

The review was prompted following allegations by Amanda Duncan, a whistleblower nurse, about unreported fatalities and fabricated death certificates.

Dr Peter Renshaw, the former head of the hospital, had allegedly falsified medical certificates of death to avoid coronial investigations. Following the allegations, Renshaw's medical practitioner registration has been suspended.

An independent inquiry was initiated after Duncan's initial testimony, and it found six fatalities that needed to be referred to the coroner in Tasmania, ABC reported.

The certification of these deaths by Renshaw was found to have anomalies during the assessment. Although medical professionals are permitted to confirm deaths they witnessed, the investigation revealed that the concerned staff member had falsified or certified death certificates for other individuals.

Information regarding the review process was disclosed in a letter written by Adjunct Professor Debora Picone, an expert in healthcare governance, to the Department of Health. Picone said in the letter than the initial review had led to the identification of more than 20 cases that needed reviewing.

"The process of completing a MCCD (medical certificate of cause of death) requires a medical practitioner to certify that they attended the deceased during the last illness or in death, and that the cause of death was documented to be true to the best of their knowledge," she said. "During the review of the initial 21 cases, it was observed that a former LGH staff member who was employed as a senior specialist medical practitioner completed or edited the MCCD on multiple occasions."

In one instance, the former employee not only filled out or revised MCCDs for some patients they had not visited, but they occasionally neglected to include the modifications' justification.

Accurate death certificates are important legal documentation in addition to their emotional value to families. Inaccuracies can lead to a maze of problems as families may have to deal with insurance claims, probate, or lawsuits because of the incorrect cause of death. Inaccuracies might result in disciplinary action or malpractice actions for medical providers.