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What does death by natural causes REALLY mean? Expert explains the terminology

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What does death from natural causes REALLY mean? Experts explain terminology

  • Death from natural causes means a coroner says there was no outside source
  • Cancer or stroke would be a ‘natural’ death and a car accident would be ‘unnatural’

We often hear that a person’s death is the result of “natural causes”.

But as listed on Paul Cattermole’s S Club death certificate, what does the terminology actually mean?

Many associate the phrase with old age, but it actually indicates that a death is the result of disease in the body, rather than being caused by an external factor.

A natural cause of death is confirmed by a coroner’s certificate, which states that an autopsy is not required, based on a medical certificate from a physician.

Mr Cattermole was found dead on April 6 – just two months after he and the band announced they were due to go on a reunion tour this autumn.

S Club 7’s Paul Cattermole was found dead on April 6 – just two months after he and the band announced they were to go on a reunion tour this fall

And today a spokeswoman for the Dorset Coroner’s Office confirmed the singer died suddenly of natural causes aged 46 and there will be no inquest into his death.

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Dr Kathryn Pinneri, a pathologist and president of the National Association of Medical Examiners, said deaths from cancer, stroke or diabetes would be classified as “natural causes”.

Examples of “unnatural” deaths include traffic accidents, suicides, drug overdoses and accidents such as drowning, she said. HuffPost.

And Dr David Fowler, a forensic pathologist, described the mode of death of CNN like dying from a “natural disease process”.

He said examples of these are illnesses that “are going to take us down the road at some point”, such as infections or heart disease.

“If I play sports and have a heart attack…or shovel snow and have a heart attack because I’m stressed, that’s natural,” Dr. Fowler said.

But if a person playing sports were to die from a cause caused by the activity, such as a head injury, that death would not be “natural.”

There is a difference between the “cause” and the “manner” of death.

And despite the fact that the term is death by “natural causes”, it is actually about the “manner” of death – the determination of how injury or disease leads to death.

The coroner decides whether the manner of death was natural, accidental, or due to suicide or homicide.

Whereas the “cause” is the disease or injury itself that results in death, such as a stroke.

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