Capital punishment, or the death penalty, is the killing of a person by judicial process as a punishment for an offense. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from Latin capitalis, literally "regarding the head" (Latin caput). Hence, a capital crime was originally one punished by the severing of the head.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a lentivirus (a member of the retrovirus family) that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a condition in humans in which the immune system begins to fail, leading to life-threatening opportunistic infections. Infection with HIV occurs by the transfer of blood, semen, vaginal fluid, pre-ejaculate, or breast milk. Within these bodily fluids, HIV is present as both free virus particles and virus within infected immune cells.
Cardiac arrest, (also known as cardiopulmonary arrest or circulatory arrest) is the cessation of normal circulation of the blood due to failure of the heart to contract effectively, and if this is unexpected can be termed a sudden cardiac arrest or SCA. A cardiac arrest is different from (but may be caused by) a heart attack, where blood flow to the muscle of the heart is impaired. Arrested blood circulation prevents delivery of oxygen to the body.
Spontaneous human combustion (SHC) is a name used to describe cases of the burning of a living human body without an apparent external source of ignition. Some regard SHC as a unique and currently unexplained phenomenon, others feel that cases described as SHC can be understood using current generally-accepted scientific principles, but the most common view by far is extreme skepticism.
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or crib death is a syndrome marked by the sudden death of an infant that is unexpected by history and remains unexplained after a thorough forensic autopsy and a detailed death scene investigation. The term cot death is often used in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, India, South Africa and New Zealand.
Edema or oedema (British English; both words from the Greek οἴδημα), formerly known as dropsy or hydropsy, is an abnormal accumulation of fluid beneath the skin or in one or more cavities of the body. Generally, the amount of interstitial fluid is determined by the balance of fluid homeostasis, and increased secretion of fluid into the interstitium or impaired removal of this fluid may cause edema.
Karōshi, which can be translated literally from Japanese as "death from overwork", is occupational sudden death. Although this category has a significant count, Japan is one of the few countries that reports it in the statistics as a separate category. The major medical causes of karōshi deaths are heart attack and stroke due to stress.
Hyperthermia is an elevated body temperature due to failed thermoregulation. Hyperthermia occurs when the body produces or absorbs more heat than it can dissipate. When the elevated body temperatures are sufficiently high, hyperthermia is a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment to prevent disability and death. The most common causes are heat stroke and adverse reactions to drugs.
Asphyxia (from Greek a-, "without" and σφυγμός, ", heartbeat") is a condition of severely deficient supply of oxygen to the body that arises from being unable to breathe normally. An example of asphyxia is choking. Asphyxia causes generalized hypoxia, which primarily affects the tissues and organs.
Cancer /ˈkænsə(r)/ is a class of diseases in which a group of cells display uncontrolled growth (division beyond the normal limits), invasion (intrusion on and destruction of adjacent tissues), and sometimes metastasis (spread to other locations in the body via lymph or blood). These three malignant properties of cancers differentiate them from benign tumors, which are self-limited, and do not invade or metastasize. Most cancers form a tumor but some, like leukemia, do not.
Homicide refers to the act of a human divulging a human being. A common form of homicide, for example, would be murder. It can also describe a person who has committed such an act, though this use is rare in modern English. Homicide is not always an illegal act, so although "homicide" is often used as a synonym for "murder", this is not formally correct.
Circulatory shock, commonly known simply as shock, is a serious, life-threatening medical condition characterized by a decrease in tissue perfusion to a point at which it is inadequate to meet cellular metabolic needs. As the blood carries oxygen and nutrients around the body, reduced flow hinders the delivery of these components to the tissues, and can stop the tissues from functioning properly.
Hypothermia is a condition in which core temperature drops below that required for normal metabolism and body functions which is defined as 35.0 °C (95.0 °F). Body temperature is usually maintained near a constant level of 36.5–37.5 °C (98–100 °F) through biologic homeostasis or thermoregulation. If exposed to cold and the internal mechanisms are unable to replenish the heat that is being lost a drop in core temperature occurs.
Radiation poisoning, also called radiation sickness or a creeping dose, is a form of damage to organ tissue caused by excessive exposure to ionizing radiation. The term is generally used to refer to acute problems caused by a large dosage of radiation in a short period, though this also has occurred with long term exposure. The clinical name for radiation sickness is acute radiation syndrome (ARS) as described by the CDC.
Dehydration (hypohydration) is defined as excessive loss of body fluid. It is literally the removal of water from an object, however in physiological terms, it entails a deficiency of fluid within an organism. There are three main types of dehydration: hypotonic (primarily a loss of electrolytes, sodium in particular), hypertonic (primarily a loss of water), and isotonic (equal loss of water and electrolytes).
Choking is the mechanical obstruction of the flow of air from the environment into the lungs. Choking prevents breathing, and can be partial or complete, with partial choking allowing some, although inadequate, flow of air into the lungs. Prolonged or complete choking results in asphyxia which leads to hypoxia and is potentially fatal. Choking can be caused by: Respiratory diseases that involve obstruction of the airway. Compression of the laryngopharynx, larynx or trachea in strangles.
Ventricular fibrillation (V-fib or VF) is a condition in which there is uncoordinated contraction of the cardiac muscle of the ventricles in the heart, making them quiver rather than contract properly. While there is activity, perhaps best described as "writhing like a can filled with worms" it is undetectable by palpation (feeling) at major pulse points of the carotid and femoral arteries especially by the lay person. Such an arrhythmia is only confirmed by ECG/EKG.
The term respiratory failure, in medicine, is used to describe inadequate gas exchange by the respiratory system, with the result that arterial oxygen and/or carbon dioxide levels cannot be maintained within their normal ranges. A drop in blood oxygenation is known as hypoxemia; a rise in arterial carbon dioxide levels is called hypercapnia.
An electric shock occurs upon contact of a human body with any source of voltage high enough to cause sufficient current through the muscles or hair. The minimum current a human can feel is thought to be about 1 milliampere (mA). The current may cause tissue damage or fibrillation if it is sufficiently high. Death caused by an electric shock is referred to as electrocution. Generally, currents approaching 100 mA are lethal if they pass through sensitive portions of the body.
Starvation is a severe reduction in vitamin, nutrient and energy intake. It is the most extreme form of malnutrition. In humans, prolonged starvation can cause permanent organ damage and eventually, death. The term inanition refers to the symptoms and effects of starvation. According to the World Health Organization, hunger is the gravest single threat to the world's public health.
Drowning is death from suffocation caused by a liquid entering the lungs and preventing the absorption of oxygen leading to cerebral hypoxia and myocardial infarction. Near drowning is the survival of a drowning event involving unconsciousness or water inhalation and can lead to serious secondary complications, including death, after the event. In many countries, drowning is one of the leading causes of death for children under 12 years old.
In medicine, asystole (colloquially known as flatline) is a state of no cardiac electrical activity, hence no contractions of the myocardium and no cardiac output or blood flow. Asystole is one of the conditions required for a medical practitioner to certify death. When a patient displays asystole, the treatment of choice is an injection of epinephrine and atropine (vasopressin may also be used) and chest compressions.
Positional asphyxia, is also known as postural asphyxia, is a form of asphyxia which occurs when someone's position prevents them from breathing adequately. A small but significant number of people die suddenly and without apparent reason during restraint by police, prison (corrections) officers and health care staff. Positional asphyxia may be a factor in some of these deaths.
Heart failure (HF) is a condition in which a problem with the structure or function of the heart impairs its ability to supply sufficient blood flow to meet the body's needs. The phrase is often incorrectly used to describe other cardiac-related illnesses, such as myocardial infarction (heart attack) or cardiac arrest. Common causes of heart failure include myocardial infarction and other forms of ischemic heart disease, hypertension, valvular heart disease and cardiomyopathy.