Tennessee's chief medical examiner: 'I have looked at every single (COVID-19) death certificate'

Death certificates provide data that guide a host of public policy interventions; Doctors don't often fill them out correctly

Adele Lewis thumbnail
photo Photo courtesy tn.gov / Dr. Adele Lewis is Tennessee's chief medical examiner.

Dr. Adele Lewis has spent her career documenting death.

As Tennessee's chief medical examiner - and a former deputy chief medical examiner in Nashville - Lewis works out of a downtown Nashville state office building and sometimes at home during the pandemic, overseeing a staff responsible for collecting information on how Tennesseans die and transmitting it to the federal government.

In a year in which more than 4,600 Tennesseans have lost their lives to COVID-19 since March, Lewis has spent more time reviewing death certificates than at any other point in her years of service.

"I have looked at every single (COVID-19) death certificate," she said last week.