Given Brittany Murphy’s recent death from reported “natural causes,” we thought it might be a good idea to review what is meant by this term as we described in a previous story.
“Natural causes” is a frequently given cause of death – but what specifically does it mean? Specifying a cause of death is required by law in all states. Death certification provides public health statistics and prevents cover-ups of murder. A death certificate requires two things:
* The cause of death: a disease or injury directly related to the death (such as heart attack, AIDS, kidney failure) or the circumstances of death (gun shot wound, hanging)
* The manner of death: natural, accidental, suicide, homicide, unknown, pending
Natural causes is a loosely-defined term used by coroners describing death when the cause of death was a naturally occurring disease process, or is not apparent given medical history or circumstances. As long as a physician familiar with the patient agrees to sign the death certificate, no autopsy in required.
Picture credit: R.I.P. Painting (2009) alegna24.tumblr.com