The San Diego County Department of the Medical Examiner is releasing its entire database of sudden and unexpected deaths investigated by its staff going back to 1997.
The free, searchable database will house 59,000 records or approximately 3,000 deaths a year that are examined by the medical examiner’s office.
“Of the 22,000 deaths that occur in the county every year, we only see a part of those,” Steven Campman, M.D., Chief Deputy Medical Examiner said.
Specific names and case numbers have been redacted to maintain the privacy of the individuals.
It will include age, race, gender, cause of death, manner of death, zip code, etc.
Causes of death range from acetaminophen intoxication to wood chipper injuries.
“This is like a first stop for people who have questions about trends in our population,” Campman said.
Researchers and decision makers will be able to search the database to find out information about local deaths.
“That is our hope. People will see something in the numbers and then cause decision makers to direct resources differently,” he said.
He cites pedestrian deaths as an example. If most of these deaths occur within one zip code that may change safety laws in that area.
It was quite an effort to organize the information and make sure privacy was maintained while providing a searchable database.