View Full Version : Death by natural causes
05-26-2003, 02:13 PM
How does a coroner, doctor, or anyone for that matter, determine that someone died of natural causes? Is it just the fact that there are no markings, or other abnormalities, and everything just shut down? I am just confused by this.
If it means that your organs just start shutting down (obvious)... what order do they go in? What if your lungs stopped working before your heart...wouldn't an autopsy report look like you had been suffocated?
Or is there always a REASON (i.e. heartattack, stroke, etc.) but everyone is just told "natural causes" to lighten the impact?
Someone wanna explain this to me?
05-26-2003, 02:17 PM
I don't quite understand your question. Heart attack and stroke are natural causes. Or am I reading it wrong?
Qadgop the Mercotan
05-26-2003, 02:21 PM
Well, it's natural causes versus malevolent intent, basically.
If I've been caring for my patient for a period of time and have gotten to know them, I may know their heart is bad, their lungs are giving out, and that both these entities pose a risk of any time. When I get a call from my colleague the medical examiner telling me that my patient was just found dead at home, without any suspicious circumstances, I am then asked if I care to declare a cause of death based on my relationship with them. Without evidence to the contrary, I may well say "sure, I was this would happen one day soon. His arrthymia finally got him" and that's all there is to it. That's what goes on the death certificate I sign. It's a natural cause.
Now if the medical examiner's office finds the body filled with stab and bullet wounds, obviously they're going to take a different route.
05-26-2003, 02:28 PM
In Canada, the family of any dead patient has the right to request an autopsy. So does the doctor if his spidey-sense is tweaked by anything unusal. It is often mandatory if the patient died in an institution, jail, etc. If the patient is dying when they get to the emergency room and dies in hospital, often some preliminary tests have already been done and if some of these show suspicious things an autopsy may be more likely. But a lot of time it's just as you say, "he had a known aneurysm, and I knew it might get him one day".
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