Gwinnett medical examiner steps in to fix death certificate following Channel 2 investigation

ATLANTA — The Gwinnett County Medical Examiner has stepped in to fix an incorrect death certificate following a Channel 2 Action News investigation.

It is a change the family has been trying to get for 8 months.

Kathy Walsh showed Channel 2 consumer investigator Justin Gray the new, amended death certificate for her husband Bill.

“It’s a big weight lifted, and now I can maybe move forward,” Walsh said.

The Gwinnett County medical examiner reached out to Walsh after watching our Channel 2 Action News investigation last month.


Bill Walsh’s death was listed as natural by the rehab facility where he was recovering from injuries suffered in a fall.

His wife Kathy spent 8 months trying to get it fixed, changed to an accidental death.

“One of my employees saw the story on Channel 2 and alerted the rest of the staff,” Gwinnett County Medical Examiner Dr. Carol Terry said.

Terry told Gray that only a coroner or medical examiner can sign a death certificate for something other than natural death.

“His death had never been reported to our office, so we had no knowledge of this,” Terry said.

Terry said Cambridge Acute Care Center and the doctor who signed the original death certificate, Dr. Sam Ghafari, should have referred the case to the medical examiner’s office for investigation.


After investigating, Terry changed the manner of death to accidental and added in all the correct factors that led to the death.

“He had a fall, he sustained injuries that then resulted in his progressive decline,” Terry said.

We reported in our original Channel 2 Action News investigation how a University of Wisconsin study in 2020 found 85% of the death certificates they examined had errors.

About 53% of those were classified as either major mistakes or wrong or missing manners of death.

For Walsh, getting the death certificate fixed means she can now file for the $100,000 accidental death life insurance policy they paid into for so many years.

“It has eliminated that burden from my shoulders, and you have helped do that, and I just really appreciate it,” Walsh said.

Terry said she’s talking to lawmakers at the Gold Dome about potential legislation that could require training on death certificates as part of licensing for physicians.