Cause of Death: Domino Effect

When someone dies, the process is (I think), that the county coroner checks into the death, and then issues a death certificate. The certificate lists “Cause of Death”, among other things. (BTW, I have never actually seen a death certificate – I am just eyeballing it – based on what I have heard and what I have seen on TV.)

So what are the most popular answers for “Cause of Death”? Heart-attack, cancer, infection, organ-failure, etc are some common ones. Old-age might be another. Maybe suicide. Then there are all of the different types of homicide: Blunt-trama to the skull, bullet to the head, etc.

In any case, I think that, what the coroner really looks for is just two things: A) the “proximate” cause of death, and B) was it a natural death or suspicious? In this context, the term “proximate” means “the most nearby” cause. The implication is that, for any given effect (like the death of a person), there is often a “chain of causes” which culminate in the final effect. In this case, the final effect is death.

What are some examples of “chain of causes”? Lets look at some hypotheticals. First, the case of lung cancer. So, the death certificate might say that the cause of death is lung cancer. So that is the proximate cause, cancer. Now lets take it back one more step. What caused the cancer? In many cases it would be “carcinogenic chemicals absorbed by the lung tissue.” So what caused that? Maybe smoking. So what caused that? Some people would say it was a free-will choice on the part of the smoker. Other people might say, that, the so-called free-will choice was really due to manipulative advertising on the part of tobacco companies. That, in turn, could be caused by the greed of the CEO. So the full chain of causes was really a Domino-Effect starting from greed:

GREED –> Manipulative Advertising –> Smoking –> Carcinogens –> Cancer –> DEATH.

So, really, the Death Certificate might just as well label “CEO’s Greed” as the person’s cause of death. (Actually, in this scenario, it almost sounds more like a homicide.)

Could an analogous situation also occur with laziness? Imagine this example:

LAZINESS –> Not looking for a job –> No job –> No health insurance –> No prescription plan –> Unprepared for illness –> Illness occurs –> DEATH

(In this case it almost sounds like negligent-suicide.) What are your thoughts?


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6 Responses to Cause of Death: Domino Effect

  1. nb says:

    Interesting article.

  2. full_time_80 says:

    I have to agree ultimately without sounding off too much about conspiracy theories. R.J. Reynolds and Phillip Morris will not pay for my funeral anyway. I do not want to fade away from negligent suicide. I feel I have been fading away my whole life. Everything is vanity. I know, no excuse to not take care of myself. LOL

  3. laylow says:

    Kind of makes sense – but it is hard to look at things long term like that. People often do things long term that are counterproductive.

  4. tiya says:

    Good article. Unfortunately, people tend to just sit around and wait for others to take care of them in case of serious trouble. It is kind of a vicious circle. In order for it to stop, people need to have the benefits be cut off – unfortunately, that would mean “cruelty” – so it is easier for the politicians to just let people continue to take benefits …

  5. Still trying says:

    I believe death can b caused by self laziness – I know the laziness in my life if I don’t get rid of it I believe that I will die an unhappy lonely death. With the help of of PAL I also believe that I can just as easy as being lazy b the complete opposite and by doing so I can achieve a life of happiness and respect for myself. I have fear of having money cause if I relapse on drugs then I will b dead. I don’t want to die. I m gonna start praying for courage to change the things that I can.

  6. MVNJ says:

    A lot of things have a chain of effect. Hunger leads to eating -> feeding the body -> expelling waist. Using laziness as a cause of death is interesting. I think that there are other factors that affect the laziness to death change. Like the economy and jobs that don’t provide health insurance. For example, someone who looses their legs in a war still has their hands – they might be suffering from ptsd – this affects the basic chain.

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