|MadSci Network: Medicine|
Specifying a cause of death is required by law in all states. Death certification provides public health statistics and prevents cover-ups of murder. Certification requires determination of a cause of death which is a disease or injury directly related to death (heart attack, stroke, AIDS) or the circumstances of death (gunshot wound to chest, death by hanging). The manner of death must also be stated (natural, accidental, suicide, homicide, unknown, pending). In your specific case, "Natural Causes" means that the death was natural but a specific cause was not apparent from the clincal history or circumstances surrounding death. In order to find a cause an autopsy would have been neccessary. In older people autopsies usually aren't done if the circumstances are natural.
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