Introduction

Just so that you know that I know what I’m talking about, I’ve been a pathologist for 34 years and I’ve performed over 5,000 post mortem examinations. In the UK, just over 530,000 people died in 2017. You WILL die. I WILL die. It comes to all of us. It affects all of us, because Death will visit our loved ones.

My aim is help you by giving you information, by taking your hand and leading you through the medical jargon and (necessary) procedures that a society has to have when someone dies.

Here are the bald statistics from 2017 in the UK:

150,000 died of cancer

150,000 died of heart or blood vessel disease

73,000 died or respiratory disease

68.000 died of some form of dementia

21,000 died of external causes (including accident, deliberate self-harm and assault of some kind)

But what do those words actually mean? What is ‘cancer’? What does ‘heart or blood vessel disease’ actually involve?

And then there are the procedures. What is an ‘inquest’? When is one required? What is a coroner? Why are suicides different to other forms of death when it comes to the inquest? When does an inquest have to have a jury?

Lots of questions. The answers are fascinating.

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