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In medicine, death by natural causes is a loosely-defined term used by coroners describing death when the cause of death was a naturally occurring disease process, or was not apparent given medical history or circumstances. (It may also be described as death by "multiple organ failure".) Thus, deaths caused by active human intervention (as opposed to the failure of medical intervention to prevent death) are excluded from this definition, and are described as unnatural deaths.

Note that "old age" is not a scientifically recognized cause of death; there is always a more proximal cause, such as cancer, heart disease, or liver failure (though the precise cause may be unknown in a particular case, and it could be one of a number of aging-associated diseases).

Categorization

Deaths due to any disease process are deaths by natural causes. The "unnatural" causes are usually given as accident (sometimes termed "death by misadventure"), suicide, and homicide.[1] In some settings, other categories may be added. For example, a jail system may track the deaths of inmates due to acute intoxication separately.[2]

References

  1. ^ Bryant, Clifton D. (2003). Handbook of death & dying. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. pp. 968. ISBN 0-7619-2514-7.  
  2. ^ Stark, Martha (2000). A physician's guide to clinical forensic medicine. Totowa, NJ: Humana Press. pp. 225. ISBN 0-89603-742-8.  

External links


A death by natural causes, as recorded by coroners and on death certificates and associated documents, is one that is primarily attributed to natural agents: usually an illness or an internal malfunction of the body. For example, a person dying from complications from influenza, (an illness) commonly referred to as the flu, or a heart attack (an internal body malfunction) would be listed as having died of natural causes. "Old age" is not a scientifically recognized cause of death[citation needed] ; there is always a more direct cause although it may be unknown in certain cases and could be one of a number of aging-associated diseases.

In contrast, death caused by active intervention is called unnatural death. The "unnatural" causes are usually given as accident ("misadventure"), suicide, and homicide.[1] In some settings, other categories may be added. For example, a prison may track the deaths of inmates due to acute intoxication separately.[2]

References

  1. ^ Bryant, Clifton D. (2003). Handbook of death & dying. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. pp. 968. ISBN 0-7619-2514-7. 
  2. ^ Stark, Martha (2000). A physician's guide to clinical forensic medicine. Totowa, NJ: Humana Press. pp. 225. ISBN 0-89603-742-8. 

External links








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