The Cause and Mechanism of Death

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In the event of a decease, with factors that appear to be unrelated to those typical of natural causes, an probe will take topographic point to find how the decease occurred. This paper discusses the categorizations, illustrations of causes, mode, and mechanisms of decease. The professionals who investigate the determiners of the decease will bring forth information that will be necessary for subsequent probes by jurisprudence enforcement staff every bit good as run intoing the demands of jurisprudence for judicial reappraisal and action. Not merely is the information vital to jurisprudence enforcement action, if warranted, the medical decisions will supply account to household members who will desire to obtain an official certification of decease. It is imperative that the diagnostician or other medical staff take great attention in finding the factors associated with the decease as inaccurate information will greatly impact future probes or tracking of deceases and diseases by the Centers for Disease Control.

Keywords:cause of decease, mode of decease, mechanism of decease, categorization of decease

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The Cause and Mechanism of Death

The principle behind a decease probe is to determine the causative factor ( s ) and the mechanism ( s ) involved in the event. The physical grounds back uping the involved factors must be determined by the forensic diagnostician and documented in the certification of decease. Decisions derived from the informations revealed in the probes, instance record, word picture of the decease scene, and the result of the necropsy will be of value to the diagnostician. The aim in an probe affecting a decease will seek to place the cause, method, and mechanism involved. Should sufficient information or grounds be available, a finding may even be made as to the clip decease occurred. The clip of decease will merely be an appraisal based upon the alterations happening in the organic structure at the surcease of life ( James, Nordby, & A ; Bell,2014 ) .

Manner of Death

From the position of those professionals who must do a finding as to the particulars involved in the cause of a decease, there are five categorizations assigned. The most common categorization is that of natural decease, end point of disease or age. An inadvertent decease would affect an unplanned event such as a drowning, vehicle accident, or deadly autumn. A self-destructive decease is a deliberate and successful effort to take one’s ain life. At times it may be hard to find as to whether a self-destruction occurred or whether the decease was inadvertent. A decease classified as a homicide involves the violent death of an person by one or more persons. The last categorization of decease is one that can non be determined as matching to one of the other categorizations ; it is besides referred to as a decease by undetermined causes ( Harris County, n.d. ) . An interim categorization wherein the cause of decease has non been determined can be referred to as a pending cause of decease. The pending cause of decease normally involves conditions wherein extra analysis or probe is required ( National Museum of Crime & A ; Punishment, n.d. ) .

Death Certification

In the event of a decease, a enfranchisement ( decease certification ) will function as both a critical record and an of import papers to the lasting household. The decease certification is really a papers that is used in association with a birth certification to enter the birth and decease of an person. These paperss serve as a testimony that the person was born, lived, and finally died. The decease certification will be filed as an official papers to the county in which the decease took topographic point every bit good as with the state’s vital records section. On the national degree, the decease certification will be submitted or otherwise reported to the Centers for Disease Control ( CDC ) so that statistics may be computed sing incidence of hurts and disease ( Buchotz, MD & A ; Lewis, MA, 2005 ) .

Cause of Death

The cause of decease can be merely rendered as the ground the individual died. A doctor will frequently depict the cause of decease based upon disease processes or as a patterned advance of the disease with the conclusiveness of decease ( Buchotz, MD & A ; Lewis, MA, 2005 ) . Determining the cause of decease is the focal point or of greatest importance to a diagnostician during the ratings made during an autopsy process. From the jurisprudence enforcement or judicial point of view of legality, the demand is the ability to turn out, beyond any uncertainty, that the decease of the person occurred as a consequence of other than natural causes. A figure of factors must be considered affecting the cause of decease and whether those factors suggest that an act of disgusting drama is present. Those factors may include the location where the organic structure was found, whether the organic structure was clothed, the presence of hurts such as knife or gunshot lesions, and whether the deadly lesions were self-inflicted or suggestive of an attacker, etc. In the instance of a decease ensuing from other than natural causes, the diagnostician will probably be called into the tribunal to give adept testimony. The purpose of this professional testimony will be to turn out, beyond any uncertainty, the temperament of the expert’s rating as to do of decease ( Claridge, n.d. ) .

Examples considered causative to decease would include shot, aneurysm, submerging, asphyxiation, hanging, choking, bosom onslaught, fatal gunfire lesion, hurt, extended injury, Burnss, disease, skull break, or bludgeon ( Demirci & A ; Dogan,2015 ) . Among the aged, it is really common to happen that there are legion conditions and patterned advance of those conditions that result in decease. Because of these multiple conditions present, it is highly indispensable that the attesting medical tester or medical examiner to come to a determination as to which sequence of conditions serves to accurately explicate the circumstance doing decease ( National Center for Health Statistics ( U.S. ) , 2003 ) .

Mechanism of Death

The mechanism of decease is a alteration or change in biochemistry ensuing in a effect of deadly magnitude. “Mechanisms of decease are ne’er etiologically specific and are unacceptable as replacements for the implicit in cause of death” ( Harris County, n.d. , p. 1 ) .

Examples of the mechanisms doing decease are shed blooding to decease ( exanguination ) , shed blooding of the encephalon ( intra-cerebral hemorrhage ) , cardiac apprehension, surcease of external respiration ( asphyxia ) , monolithic encephalon injury ( intellectual bruise ) , or a blood watercourse infection ( sepsis ) ( Demirci & A ; Dogan,2015 ) .

Conjectural Examples of Manner, Cause, and Mechanism of Death

An person may be walking down a street and a overwrought individual approaches the person and stabs him. The assailant flees as the victim collapses to the pavement. No 1 witnesses the offense nor hears the disturbance. The victim bleeds out and dies. The mode of decease is a homicide. The cause of decease is knifing and the mechanism of decease is loss of blood.

An alienated hubby enters his wife’s sleeping room as she is kiping. He places a pillow over her face, keeping it steadfastly as she struggles for air. Puting his full weight against her she shortly passes out but he maintains the pillow in topographic point and continues to exercise his full organic structure weight on her. She dies from deficiency of O. The mode of decease is homicide, the cause of her decease is surrounding and the mechanism of decease is asphyxia.

Actual Examples of Manner, Cause, and Mechanism of Death

Jon Benet Ramsey, a six-year old beauty queen was discovered prevarication in her family’s cellar, lifeless, gagged with canal tape, and nylon garotte around her cervix. There were obvious marks of hurt and the patterned advance of asperity mortis suggested that she had died the dark earlier. An extended probe ensued and the mode of decease was documented as homicide. The cause of decease was indicated as choking and fractured skull. The mechanism deemed associating to the immediateness of decease was suffocation / respiratory apprehension. As a side note, the Jon Benet Ramsey instance is, at the day of the month of this authorship, an unclosed ( cold ) instance ( National Museum of Crime & A ; Punishment, n.d. ) .

Michael Jackson, a 50–year old male entertainer, contacted his primary doctor, Cardiologist Dr. Conrad Murray at about 0100 hours kicking that he was non able to kip and that he was dehydrated. The physician responded to Mr. Jackson’s abode and allegedly rendered some type of medical attention and remained at that place. For unknown grounds, Dr. Murray became cognizant that Mr. Jackson was non take a breathing and later administered CPR. Paramedics were called and arrived at 1226 hours and found that Mr. Jackson did non hold a pulse even after being administered CPR. Despite attempts to successfully re-establish a pulse, Mr. Jackson remained unresponsive to medical attempts to resuscitate him and was pronounced dead at 1426 hours at the UCLA Medical Center ( Internet Archive, n.d. ) .

The mode of decease was homicide based on the state of affairs environing the administering of propofol and benzodiazepines by an person other than the victim outside of a medical attention installation or infirmary. The administering of such drugs without proper medical warrant serves to short-circuit the criterion of attention necessitating monitoring of the patient, administrating the appropriate dose for the peculiar medical process, and the deficiency of necessary resuscitation equipment. The cause of decease was acute propofol ( strong anaesthetic ) poisoning in associated with the conducive ingredient of benzodiazepine ( tranquillizer ) . The toxicology studies indicated that Michael Jackson’s blood contained a high concentration of propofol and benzodiazepine whereas the necropsy showed that there was no injury indicated nor natural disease that would account for his immediate decease. The mode of decease was determined to be cardiac apprehension ( Internet Archive, n.d. ) .


Forensic diagnosticians are the professionals trained in the medical subject who undertake the necessary investigative processs to find the cause, mode, and mechanism of decease. Without such an probe, the information relevant to the decease is unknown. Determinants of a forensic survey occur when the decease appears to be other than due to natural causes. Factors must be considered that suggest or indicate the decease may hold occurred due to suicide, accident, homicide, or terra incognitas. Should the factors be momently unknown, the categorization may be determined as pending until extra information or probe takes topographic point. There can be more than one factor lending to the decease of the person. Careful and punctilious work must be done by medical staff to clear up the cause, mode, and mechanism of decease as this information will be portion of the decease certification certification. Failure to supply an accurate finding can significantly impact the procedure of probe for jurisprudence enforcement every bit good as negatively impact the result of tribunal proceedings. These failures can function to impact the legal demand to turn out, beyond any uncertainty, that the decease of the dead person was due to factors and actions unrelated to those typical of a decease from natural causes.


Buchotz, MD, A. , & A ; Lewis, MA, J. ( 2005 ) .Biological grounds: Condemnable probe series. San Clemente, California: LawTech Custom Publishing Co. , Inc.

Claridge, J. ( n.d. ) . Determining Cause of Death. RetrievedMarch20, 2015, from hypertext transfer protocol: //

Demirci, S. , & A ; Dogan, K.H. ( n.d. ) . Death Scene Investigation from the Viewpoint of Forensic Medicine Expert. Retrieved from hypertext transfer protocol: //

Harris County. ( n.d. ) . Harris County – Institute of Forensic Sciences –Cause and mode of decease. RetrievedMarch19, 2015, from hypertext transfer protocol: //

Internet Archive. ( n.d. ) . Full text of “ Michael Jackson ‘s Autopsy ” . RetrievedMarch20, 2015, from hypertext transfer protocol: //

James, S.H. , Nordby, J.J. , & A ; Bell, S. ( 2014 ) .Forensic scientific discipline: An debut to scientific and fact-finding techniques( 4thed. ) . Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

National Center for Health Statistics ( U.S. ) . ( 2003 ) .Medical testers ‘ and medical examiners ‘ enchiridion on decease enrollment and foetal decease coverage( PHS 2003-1110 ) . Retrieved from Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics web site: hypertext transfer protocol: //

National Museum of Crime & A ; Punishment. ( n.d. ) . Crime Library: Cause, Mechanism, & A ; Manner of Death: Crime Museum. RetrievedMarch19, 2015, from hypertext transfer protocol: //

National Museum of Crime & A ; Punishment. ( n.d. ) . Crime Library: Jon Benet Ramsey: Cold Cases. RetrievedMarch20, 2015, from hypertext transfer protocol: //

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The Cause and Mechanism of Death. (2017, Jul 10). Retrieved from

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