Cause and Manner of Death

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Cause of Death:  the natural disease or traumatic injury which initiates the sequence of events resulting in an individual’s death

Proximate Cause of Death: the disease or injury which represents the starting point in an unbroken chain of events, ending in death---for example, coronary artery disease, a gunshot wound to the chest, blunt force head trauma, lung carcinoma, etc..

Immediate Cause of Death: the complication or sequelae of the proximate cause of death, which is related to the proximate cause but does not represent an intervening cause of death ("intervening" cause of death= a disease or injury which initiates a new sequence of events leading to death)---for example, a myocardial infarct, pulmonary embolism, aspiration pneumonia, etc.. 

Manner of Death: a classification of how the cause of death arose

Five "manner" classifications: Natural, accident, suicide, homicide and undetermined

Mechanism of Death: plausible physiological explanation(s) which links the cause of death to the cessation of vital functions

Examples:
#1: Cause of Death:  Myocardial infarct
                Due To:    Coronary artery atherosclerosis
      Manner of Death: Natural

#2: Cause of Death:  Cerebral edema with herniation                  
                Due To:    Blunt Force Head Trauma
                Due To:    Fall from a height
      Manner of Death: Accident

#3:Cause of Death:  Bronchopneumonia
                Due To:   Prolonged immobilization and ventilator support
                Due To:   Traumatic head injuries
                Due To:   Gunshot wound to head
      Manner of Death:  Homicide

#4: Cause of Death: Acute pulmonary embolism
                Due To:   Fracture to right hip
                Due To:   Motor vehicle crash
      Manner of Death:  Accident