Death is the termination of the biological functions that define a living organism. It refers both to a particular event and to the condition that results thereby. The true nature of the latter has, for millennia, been a central concern of the world's religious traditions and of philosophical enquiry. Belief in some kind of afterlife or rebirth is a central aspect of many religious traditions.
Humans and the vast majority of other animals die in due course from senescence. Remarkable exceptions include the hydra, and the jellyfish turritopsis nutricula, which is thought to possess in effect biological immortality.[1 ]
Intervening phenomena which commonly bring about death earlier include malnutrition, disease, or accidents resulting in terminal physical injury. Predation is a cause of death for many species. Intentional human activity causing death includes suicide, homicide, and war. Roughly 150,000 people die each day across the globe.[2 ] Death in the natural world can also occur as an indirect result of human activity: an increasing cause of species depletion in recent times has been destruction of ecosystems as a consequence of the widening spread of industrial technology.
Physiological death is now seen as less an event than a process: conditions once considered indicative of death are now reversible. Where in the process a dividing line is drawn between life and death depends on factors beyond the presence or absence of vital signs. In general, clinical death is neither necessary nor sufficient for a determination of legal death. A patient with working heart and lungs determined to be brain dead can be pronounced legally dead without clinical death occurring. Precise medical definition of death, in other words, becomes more problematic, paradoxically, as scientific knowledge and technology advance.
Signs of death, or strong indications that a person is no longer alive are:
For those who define death as a state following the state of life, one of the challenges in defining death is in distinguishing it from life. Death would seem to refer to either the moment at which life ends, or when the state that follows life begins. However, determining when death has occurred requires drawing precise conceptual boundaries between life and death. This is problematic however because there is little consensus over how to define life. Some have suggested defining life in terms of consciousness. When consciousness ceases, a living organism can be said to have died. One of the notable flaws in this approach is that there are many organisms which are alive but probably not conscious (for example, single-celled organisms). Another problem with this approach is in defining consciousness, which has many different definitions given by modern scientists, psychologists and philosophers. This general problem of defining death applies to the particular challenge of defining death in the context of medicine.
Other definitions for death focus on the character of cessation of something. In this context 'death' describes merely the state where something has ceased, e.g., life. Thus, the definition of 'life' simultaneously defines death.
Historically, attempts to define the exact moment of a human's death have been problematic. Death was once defined as the cessation of heartbeat (cardiac arrest) and of breathing, but the development of CPR and prompt defibrillation have rendered that definition inadequate because breathing and heartbeat can sometimes be restarted. Events which were causally linked to death in the past no longer kill in all circumstances; without a functioning heart or lungs, life can sometimes be sustained with a combination of life support devices, organ transplants and artificial pacemakers.
Today, where a definition of the moment of death is required, doctors and coroners usually turn to "brain death" or "biological death" to define a person as being clinically dead; people are considered dead when the electrical activity in their brain ceases. It is presumed that an end of electrical activity indicates the end of consciousness. However, suspension of consciousness must be permanent, and not transient, as occurs during certain sleep stages, and especially a coma. In the case of sleep, EEGs can easily tell the difference.
However, the category of "brain death" is seen by some scholars to be problematic. For instance, Dr Franklin Miller, senior faculty member at the Department of Bioethics, National Institutes of Health, notes "By the late 1990s, however, the equation of brain death with death of the human being was increasingly challenged by scholars, based on evidence regarding the array of biological functioning displayed by patients correctly diagnosed as having this condition who were maintained on mechanical ventilation for substantial periods of time. These patients maintained the ability to sustain circulation and respiration, control temperature, excrete wastes, heal wounds, fight infections and, most dramatically, to gestate fetuses (in the case of pregnant "brain-dead" women)." 
Those people maintaining that only the neo-cortex of the brain is necessary for consciousness sometimes argue that only electrical activity there should be considered when defining death. Eventually it is possible that the criterion for death will be the permanent and irreversible loss of cognitive function, as evidenced by the death of the cerebral cortex. All hope of recovering human thought and personality is then gone given current and foreseeable medical technology. However, at present, in most places the more conservative definition of death — irreversible cessation of electrical activity in the whole brain, as opposed to just in the neo-cortex — has been adopted (for example the Uniform Determination Of Death Act in the United States). In 2005, the Terri Schiavo case brought the question of brain death and artificial sustenance to the front of American politics.
Even by whole-brain criteria, the determination of brain death can be complicated. EEGs can detect spurious electrical impulses, while certain drugs, hypoglycemia, hypoxia, or hypothermia can suppress or even stop brain activity on a temporary basis. Because of this, hospitals have protocols for determining brain death involving EEGs at widely separated intervals under defined conditions.
In the United States, a person is dead by law if a Statement of Death or Death Certificate is approved by a licensed medical practitioner. Various legal consequences follow death, including the removal from the person of what in legal terminology is called personhood.
The possession of brain activities, or ability to resume brain activity, is a necessary condition to legal personhood in the United States. "It appears that once brain death has been determined … no criminal or civil liability will result from disconnecting the life-support devices." (Dority v. Superior Court of San Bernardino County, 193 Cal.Rptr. 288, 291 (1983))
There are many anecdotal references to people being declared dead by physicians and then 'coming back to life', sometimes days later in their own coffin, or when embalming procedures are just about to begin. Owing to significant scientific advancements in the Victorian era, some people in Britain became obsessively worried about living after being declared dead.
In cases of electric shock, CPR for an hour or longer can allow stunned nerves to recover, allowing an apparently dead person to survive. People found unconscious under icy water may survive if their faces are kept continuously cold until they arrive at an emergency room. This "diving response", in which metabolic activity and oxygen requirements are minimal, is something humans share with cetaceans called the mammalian diving reflex.
As medical technologies advance, ideas about when death occurs may have to be re-evaluated in light of the ability to restore a person to vitality after longer periods of apparent death (as happened when CPR and defibrillation showed that cessation of heartbeat is inadequate as a decisive indicator of death). The lack of electrical brain activity may not be enough to consider someone scientifically dead. Therefore, the concept of information theoretical death has been suggested as a better means of defining when true death actually occurs, though the concept has few practical applications outside of the field of cryonics.
There have been some scientific attempts to bring dead organisms back to life, but with limited success. In science fiction scenarios where such technology is readily available, real death is distinguished from reversible death.
The leading cause of death in developing countries is infectious disease. The leading causes of death in developed countries are atherosclerosis (heart disease and stroke), cancer, and other diseases related to obesity and aging. These conditions cause loss of homeostasis, leading to cardiac arrest, causing loss of oxygen and nutrient supply, causing irreversible deterioration of the brain and other tissues. Of the roughly 150,000 people who die each day across the globe, about two thirds — 100,000 per day — die of age-related causes.[2 ] In industrialized nations, the proportion is much higher, reaching 90%.[2 ] With improved medical capability, dying has become a condition to be managed. Home deaths, once normal, are now rare in the developed world.
In developing nations, inferior sanitary conditions and lack of access to modern medical technology makes death from infectious diseases more common than in developed countries. One such disease is tuberculosis, a bacterial disease which killed 1.7 million people in 2004. Malaria causes about 400–900 million cases of fever and approximately one to three million deaths annually. AIDS death toll in Africa may reach 90-100 million by 2025.
According to Jean Ziegler, who was the United Nations Special reporter on the Right to Food from 2000 to March 2008; mortality due to malnutrition accounted for 58% of the total mortality rate in 2006. Ziegler says worldwide approximately 62 million people died from all causes and of those deaths more than 36 million died of hunger or diseases due to deficiencies in micronutrients."
Many leading developed world causes of death can be postponed by diet and physical activity, but the accelerating incidence of disease with age still imposes limits on human longevity. The evolutionary cause of aging is, at best, only just beginning to be understood. It has been suggested that direct intervention in the aging process may now be the most effective intervention against major causes of death.
An autopsy, also known as a postmortem examination or an obduction, is a medical procedure that consists of a thorough examination of a human corpse to determine the cause and manner of a person's death and to evaluate any disease or injury that may be present. It is usually performed by a specialized medical doctor called a pathologist.
Autopsies are either performed for legal or medical purposes. A forensic autopsy is carried out when the cause of death may be a criminal matter, while a clinical or academic autopsy is performed to find the medical cause of death and is used in cases of unknown or uncertain death, or for research purposes. Autopsies can be further classified into cases where external examination suffices, and those where the body is dissected and an internal examination is conducted. Permission from next of kin may be required for internal autopsy in some cases. Once an internal autopsy is complete the body is generally reconstituted by sewing it back together. Autopsy is important in a medical environment and may shed light on mistakes and help improve practices.
A "necropsy" is an older term for a postmortem examination, unregulated, and not always a medical procedure. In modern times the term is more often used in the postmortem examination of the corpses of animals.
Life extension refers to an increase in maximum or average lifespan, especially in humans, by slowing down or reversing the processes of aging. Average lifespan is determined by vulnerability to accidents and age or lifestyle-related afflictions such as cancer, or cardiovascular disease. Extension of average lifespan can be achieved by good diet, exercise and avoidance of hazards such as smoking. Maximum lifespan is determined by the rate of aging for a species inherent in its genes. Currently, the only widely recognized method of extending maximum lifespan is calorie restriction. Theoretically, extension of maximum lifespan can be achieved by reducing the rate of aging damage, by periodic replacement of damaged tissues, or by molecular repair or rejuvenation of deteriorated cells and tissues.
Researchers of life extension are a subclass of biogerontologists known as "biomedical gerontologists". They try to understand the nature of aging and they develop treatments to reverse aging processes or to at least slow them down, for the improvement of health and the maintenance of youthful vigor at every stage of life. Those who take advantage of life extension findings and seek to apply them upon themselves are called "life extensionists" or "longevists". The primary life extension strategy currently is to apply available anti-aging methods in the hope of living long enough to benefit from a complete cure to aging once it is developed, which given the rapidly advancing state of biogenetic and general medical technology, could conceivably occur within the lifetimes of people living today.
Death is the center of many traditions and organizations, and is a feature of every culture around the world. Much of this revolves around the care of the dead, as well as the afterlife and the disposal of bodies upon the onset of death. The disposal of human corpses does, in general, begin with the last offices before significant time has passed, and ritualistic ceremonies often occur, most commonly interment or cremation. This is not a unified practice, however, as in Tibet for instance the body is given a sky burial and left on a mountain top. Proper preparation for death and techniques and ceremonies for producing the ability to transfer one's spiritual attainments into another body (reincarnation) are subjects of detailed study in Tibet. Mummification or embalming is also prevalent in some cultures, to retard the rate of decay.
Capital punishment is also a divisive aspect of death in culture. In most places that practice capital punishment today, the death penalty is reserved as punishment for premeditated murder, espionage, treason, or as part of military justice. In some countries, sexual crimes, such as adultery and sodomy, carry the death penalty, as do religious crimes such as apostasy, the formal renunciation of one's religion. In many retentionist countries, drug trafficking is also a capital offense. In China human trafficking and serious cases of corruption are also punished by the death penalty. In militaries around the world courts-martial have imposed death sentences for offenses such as cowardice, desertion, insubordination, and mutiny.
Death in warfare and in suicide attack also have cultural links, and the ideas of dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, mutiny punishable by death, grieving relatives of dead soldiers and death notification are embedded in many cultures. Recently in the western world, with the supposed increase in terrorism following the September 11 attacks, but also further back in time with suicide bombings, kamikaze missions in World War II and suicide missions in a host of other conflicts in history, death for a cause by way of suicide attack, and martyrdom have had significant cultural impacts.
Suicide in general, and particularly euthanasia are also points of cultural debate. Both acts are understood very differently in contrasting cultures. In Japan, for example, ending a life with honor by seppuku was considered a desirable death, whereas according to traditional Christian and Islamic cultures, suicide is viewed as a sin. Death is personified in many cultures, with such symbolic representations as the Grim Reaper, Azrael and Father Time.
Contemporary evolutionary theory sees death as an important part of the process of natural selection. It is considered that organisms less adapted to their environment are more likely to die having produced fewer offspring, thereby reducing their contribution to the gene pool. Their genes are thus eventually bred out of a population, leading at worst to extinction and, more positively, making possible the process referred to as speciation. Frequency of reproduction plays an equally important role in determining species survival: an organism that dies young but leaves numerous offspring displays, according to Darwinian criteria, much greater fitness than a long-lived organism leaving only one.
Extinction is the cessation of existence of a species or group of taxa, reducing biodiversity. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of that species (although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point). Because a species' potential range may be very large, determining this moment is difficult, and is usually done retrospectively. This difficulty leads to phenomena such as Lazarus taxa, where a species presumed extinct abruptly "reappears" (typically in the fossil record) after a period of apparent absence. New species arise through the process of speciation, an aspect of evolution. New varieties of organisms arise and thrive when they are able to find and exploit an ecological niche — and species become extinct when they are no longer able to survive in changing conditions or against superior competition. After death the remains of an organism become part of the biogeochemical cycle. Animals may be consumed by a predator or a scavenger. Organic material may then be further decomposed by detritivores, organisms which recycle detritus, returning it to the environment for reuse in the food chain. Examples of detritivores include earthworms, woodlice and dung beetles.
Microorganisms also play a vital role, raising the temperature of the decomposing matter as they break it down into yet simpler molecules. Not all materials need be decomposed fully, however. Coal, a fossil fuel formed over vast tracts of time in swamp ecosystems, is one example.
Inquiry into the evolution of aging aims to explain why so many living things and the vast majority of animals weaken and die with age (a notable exception being hydra, which may be biologically immortal). The evolutionary origin of senescence remains one of the fundamental puzzles of biology. Gerontology specializes in the science of human aging processes.
|Stages of human
Death is the permanent end of the life of a biological organism. Death may refer to the end of life as either an event or condition. In many cultures and in the arts, death is considered a being or otherwise personified, wherein it is usually capitalized as "Death".
Reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
Death Quotes at eulogyquotes.com
This resource deals with Medical Ethics.
Brain Death Test AAN detailed report on how to determine brain death in a patient. This raises the question: If you perform the test on yourself and satisfy all of the conditions, are you dead or not?
Locked in Syndrome A man in Belgium is believed to be in PVS, but is really in Locked in Syndrome
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DEATH, the permanent cessation of the vital functions in the bodies of animals and plants, the end of life or act of dying. The word is the English representative of the substantive common to Teutonic languages, as "dead" is of the adjective, and "die" of the verb; the ultimate origin is the pre-Teutonic verbal stem dau-; cf. Ger Tod, Dutch dood, Swed. and Dan. dod. For the scientific aspects of the processes involved in life and its cessation see Biology, Physiology, Pathology, and allied articles; and for the consideration of the prolongation of life see Longevity. Here it is only necessary to deal with the more primitive views of death and with certain legal aspects.
To the savage, death from natural causes is inexplicable. At all times and in all lands, if he reflects upon death at all, he fails to understand it as a natural phenomenon;. nor in its presence is he awed or curious. Man in a primitive state has for his dead an almost animal indifference. The researches of archaeologists prove that Quaternary Man cared little what became of his fellow-creature's body. And this lack of interest is found to-day as a general characteristic of savages. The Goajiros of Venezuela bury their dead, they confess, simply to get rid of them. The Galibis of Guiana, when asked the meaning of their curious funeral ceremony, which consists in dancing on the grave, replied that they did it to stamp down the earth. Fuegians, Bushmen, Veddahs, show the same lack of concern and interest in the memory of the dead. Even the Eskimos, conspicuous as they are for their intelligence and sociability, save themselves the trouble of caring for their sick and old by walling them up and leaving them to die in a lonely hut; the Chukches stone or strangle them to death; some Indian tribes give them over to tigers, and the Battas of Sumatra eat them. This indifference is not dictated by any realization that death means annihilation of the personality. The savage conception of a future state is one that involves no real break in the continuity of life as he leads it. If a man dies without being wounded he is considered to be the victim of the sorcerers and the evil spirits with which they consort. Throughout Africa the death of anyone is ascribed to the magicians of some hostile tribe or to the malicious act of a neighbour. A culprit is easily discovered either by an appeal to a local diviner or in torturing some one into confession. In Australia it is the same. Mr Andrew Lang says that "whenever a native dies, no matter how evident it may be that death has been the result of natural causes, it is at once set down that the defunct was bewitched." The Bechuanas and all Kaffir tribes believe that death, even at an advanced age, if not from hunger or violence, is due to witchcraft, and blood is required to expiate or avenge it. Similar beliefs are found among the Papuans, and among the Indians of both Americas. The history of witchcraft in Europe and its attendant horrors, so vividly painted in Lecky's Rise of Rationalism, are but echoes of this universal refusal of savage man to accept death as the natural end of life. Even to-day the ignorant peasantry of many European countries, Russia, Galicia and elsewhere, believe that all disease is the work of demons, and that medicinal herbs owe their curative properties to their being the materialized forms of benevolent spirits.
This animistic tendency is a marked characteristic of primitive Man in every land. The savage explains the processes of inanimate nature by assuming that living beings or spirits, possessed of capacities similar to his own, are within the inanimate object. The growth of a tree, the spark struck from a flint, the devastating floods of a river, mean to him the natural actions of beings within the tree, stone or water. And thus too he explains to himself the phenomena of human life, believing that each man has within him a mannikin or animal which dictates his actions in life. This miniature man is the savage's conception of the soul; sleep and trance being regarded as the temporary, death as the permanent, absence of the soul. Each individual is thus deemed to have a dual existence. This "subliminal" self (in modern terminology) has many forms. The Hurons thought that it possessed head, body, arms and legs, in fact that it was an exact miniature of a man. The Nootkas of British Columbia regard it as a tiny man, living in the crown of the head. So long as it stands erect, its possessor is well, but if it falls from its position the misfortunes of ill-health and madness at once assail him. The ancient Egyptian believed in the soul or "double." The inhabitants of Nias, an island to the west of Sumatra, have the strange belief that to everyone before birth is given the choice of a long and heavy or short and light soul (a parallel belief may be found in early Greek philosophy), and his choice determines the length of life. Sometimes the soul is conceived as a bird. The Bororos of Brazil fancy that in that shape the soul of a sleeper passes out of the body during night-time, returning to him at his awakening. The Bella Coola Indians say the soul is a bird enclosed in an egg and lives in the nape of the neck. If the shell bursts and the soul flies away, the man must die. If however the bird flies away, egg and all, then he faints or loses his reason. A popular superstition in Bohemia assumes that the soul in the shape of a white bird leaves the body by way of the mouth. Among the Battas of Sumatra rice or grain is sprinkled on the head of a man who returns from a dangerous enterprise, and in the latter case the grains are called padiruma tondi, " means to make the soul (tondi) stay at home." In Java the new-born babe is placed in a hen-coop, and the mother makes a clucking noise, as if she were a hen, to attract the child's soul. It is regarded by many savage peoples as highly dangerous to arouse a sleeper suddenly, as his soul may not have time to return. Still more dangerous is it to move a sleeper, for the soul on its return might not be able to find the body. Flies and butterflies are forms which the souls are believed by some races to take, and the Esthonians of the island of Oesel think that the gusts of wind which whirl tornado-like through the roads are the souls of old women seeking what they can find.
But more widespread perhaps than any belief, from its simplicity doubtless, is the idea that the body's shadow or reflexion is the soul. The Basutos think that crocodiles can devour the shadow of a man cast on the surface of water. In many parts of the world sorcerers are credited with supernatural powers over a man by an attack on his shadow. The sick man is considered to have lost his shadow or a part of it. Dante refers to the shadowless spectre of Virgil, and the folklore of many European countries affords examples of the prevalence of the superstition that a man must be as careful of his shadow as of his body. In the same way the reflexion-soul is thought to be subject to a malice of enemies or attacks of beasts and has been the cause of superstitions which in one form or another exist to-day. From the Fijian and Andaman islander who exhibits abject terror at seeing himself in a glass or in water, to the English or European peasant who covers up the mirrors or turns them to the wall, upon a death occurring, lest an inmate of the house should see his own face and have his own speedy demise thus prognosticated, the idea holds its ground. It was probably the origin of the story of Narcissus, and there is scarcely a race which is free from the haunting dread. Lastly the soul is pictured as being a man's breath (anima), and this again has come down to us in literature, evidenced by the fact that the word "breath" has become a synonym for life itself. The "last breath" has meant more than a mere metaphor. It expresses the savage belief that there departs from the dying in the final expiration a something tangible, capable of separate existence - the soul. Among the Romans custom imposed a sacred duty on the nearest relative, usually the heir, to inhale the "last breath" of the dying. Moreover the classics bear evidence to the sanctity with which sentiment surrounded the last kiss; Cicero, in his speech against Verres, saying "iliatres ab extremo complexu liberum exclusae: quae nihil aliud orabant nisi ut filiorum extremum spiritism ore excipere sibi liceret." Virgil, too, refers in the Aeneid, iv. 684, to the custom, which survives to-day as a ceremonial practice among many savage and semi-civilized people.
From the inability of the savage in all ages and in all lands to comprehend death as a natural phenomenon, there results a tendency to personify death, and myths are invented to account for its origin. Sometimes it is a "taboo" which has been broken and gives Death power over man. In New Zealand Maui, the divine hero of Polynesia, was not properly baptized. In Australia a woman was told not to go near a tree where a bat lived: she infringed the prohibition, the bat fluttered out, and death resulted. The Ningphoos were dismissed from Paradise and became mortal because one of them bathed in water which had been "tabooed" (Dalton, p. 13). Other versions of the Death-myth in Polynesia relate that Maui stole a march on Night as she slept, and would have passed right through her to destroy her, but a little bird which sings at sunset woke her, she destroyed Maui, and men lost immortality. In India Yama, the god of Death, is assumed, like Maui, to have been the first to "spy out the path to the other world." In the Solomon Islands (Jour. Anth. Inst., February 188r) "Koevari was the author of death, by resuming her cast-off skin." The same story is told in the Banks Islands. The Greek myth (Hesiod, Works and Days, 90) alleged that mortals lived "without ill diseases that give death to men" till the cover was lifted from the box of Pandora. This personification of Death has had as a consequence the introduction into the folklore of many lands of stories, often humorous, of the tricks played on the Enemy of Mankind. Thus Sisyphus fettered Death, keeping him prisoner till rescued by Ares; in Venetian folklore Beppo ties him up in a bag for eighteen months; while in Sicily an innkeeper corks him up in a bottle, and a monk keeps him in his pouch for forty years. The German parallel is Gambling Hansel, who kept Death up a tree for seven years. Such examples might be multiplied unendingly, but enough has been said to show that the attitude of civilized man towards the sphinx-riddle of his end has been in part dictated and is even still influenced by the savage belief that to die is unnatural.
Registration. - The registration of burials in England goes back to the time of Thomas Cromwell, who in 1538 instituted the keeping of parish registers. Statutory measures were taken from time to time to ensure the preservation of registers of burials, but it was not until 1836 (the Births and Deaths Registration Act) that the registration of deaths became a national concern. Other acts dealing with death registration were subsequently passed, and the whole law for England consolidated by the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1874. By that act, the registration of every death and the cause of the death is compulsory. When a person dies in a house information of the death and the particulars required to be registered must be given within five days of the death to the registrar to the best of the person's knowledge and belief by one of the following persons: - (I) The nearest relative of the deceased present at the death, or in attendance during the last illness of the deceased. If they fail, then (2) some other relative of the deceased in the same subdistrict (registrar's) as the deceased. In default of relatives, (3) some person present at the death, or the occupier of the house in which, to his knowledge, the death took place. If all the above fail, (4) some inmate of the house, or the person causing the body of the deceased to be buried. The person giving the information must sign the register. Similarly, also, information must be given concerning death where the deceased dies not in a house.
Where written notice of the death, accompanied by a medical certificate of the cause of death, is sent to the registrar, information must nevertheless be given and the register signed within fourteen days after the death by the person giving the notice or some other person as required by the act. Failure to give information of death, or to comply with the registrar's requisitions, entails a penalty not exceeding forty shillings, and making false statements or certificates, or forging or falsifying them, is punishable either summarily within six months, or on indictment within three years of the offence. Before burial takes place the clergyman or other person conducting the funeral or religious service must have the registrar's certificate that the death of the deceased person has been duly registered, or else a coroner's order or warrant. Failing the certificate, the clergyman cannot refuse to bury, but he must forthwith give notice in writing to the registrar. Failure to do so within seven days involves a penalty not exceeding ten pounds. Children must not be registered as still-born without a medical certificate or a signed declaration from some one who would have been required, if the child had been born alive, to give information concerning the birth, that the child was still-born and that no medical man was present at the birth, or a coroner's order. The registration of deaths at sea is regulated by the act of 1874 together with the Merchant Shipping Act 1894. See further Birth and Burial And Burial Acts. Registers of death are, in law, evidence of the fact of death, and the entry, or a certified copy of it, will be sufficient evidence without a certificate of burial, although it is desirable that it should also be produced.
The fact of death may, in English law, be proved not only by direct but by presumptive evidence. When a person disappears, so that no direct proof of his whereabouts or death is obtainable, death may be presumed at the expiration of seven years from the period when the person was last heard of. It is always, however, a matter of fact for the jury, and the onus of proving the death lies on the party who asserts it. In Scotland, by the Presumption of Life (Scotland) Act 1891, the presumption is statutory. In those cases where people disappear under circumstances which create a strong probability of death, the court may, for the purpose of probate or administration, presume the death before the lapse of seven years. The question of survivorship, where two or more persons are shown to have perished by the same catastrophe, as in cases of shipwreck, has been much discussed. It was at one time thought that there might be a presumption of survivorship in favour of the younger as against the older, of the male as against the female, &c. But it is now clear that there is no such presumption Alston, 1892, P. 142). This is also the rule in most states of the American Union. The doctrine of survivorship originated in the Roman Law, which had recourse to certain artificial presumptions, where the particular circumstances connected with deaths were unknown. Some of the systems founded on the civil law, as the French code, have adopted certain rules of survivorship.
Civil Death is an expression used, in law, in contradistinction to natural death. Formerly, a man was said to be dead in law (I) when he entered a monastery and became professed in religion; (2) when he abjured the realm; (3) when he was attainted of treason or felony. Since the suppression of the monasteries there has been no legal establishment for professed persons in. England, and the first distinction has therefore disappeared, though for long after the original reason had ceased to make it necessary grants of life estates were usually made for the terms of a man's natural life. The act abolishing sanctuaries (1623) did away with civil death by abjuration; and the Forfeiture Act 1870, that on attainder for treason or felony.
For the tax levied on the estate of deceased persons, and sometimes called "death duty," see Succession Duty.
For the statistics of the death-rate of the United Kingdom as compared with that of the various European countries see UNITED KINGDOM. See also the articles Annuity; Capital Punishment; Cremation; Insurance; Medical, Jurisprudence, &C.
<< Silas Deane
may be simply defined as the termination of life. It is represented under a variety of aspects in Scripture:
Death is the effect of sin (Heb 2:14), and not a "debt of nature." It is but once (9:27), universal (Gen 3:19), necessary (Lk 2:28-30). Jesus has by his own death taken away its sting for all his followers (1Cor 15:55-57).
THE DEATH OF CHRIST is the procuring cause incidentally of all the blessings men enjoy on earth. But specially it is the procuring cause of the actual salvation of all his people, together with all the means that lead thereto. It does not make their salvation merely possible, but certain (Mt 18:11; Rom 5:10; 2Cor 5:21; Gal 1:4; 3:13; Eph 1:7; 2:16; Rom 8:32-35).
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Death is the end of life in an organism. Death can happen in many ways. About 150,000 people die every day around the world. About two thirds of these people die because of reasons related with age.
Living things which have died are normally described as being dead. Human death is very carefully tracked in case of a killing or something (like a disease) that may continue to kill other humans. Death is usually followed by rituals like the funeral, which have been developed by a religion or the state. When people talk about things or events that lead to the death of a plant or animal, those things or events are usually described as being deadly, or fatal. In the case of diseases, they are described as terminal. There are many slang terms for dying. A few examples are, "to pass away", "to go to a better place", "to buy the farm" (generally used in the military), and "to kick the bucket."
In ordinary life, death is when the heart stops beating and the lungs stop breathing for more than several minutes. There are special times in which people recover even though the heart has stopped for 30 minutes, such as near-drowning in very cold water. If machines are used to help the heart and lungs work, then the moment of death is more difficult to know.
For a long time, many people have been afraid of death and a lot of people have wondered about what may happen to people after they die. This is one of the largest questions of philosophy and religion.