The dilemma of the death certificate

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters    February 3, 2019
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In a good old-fashioned murder mystery, we know that the plot starts to heat up when the dead body is discovered and the cause of death determined. But in real life, most of us will not die quite so dramatically.
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If we live with one or more chronic illnesses, in fact, the name of at least one of those diagnoses will probably be listed on our official death certificates someday. (We could also get run over by a bus long before then, but let’s face it, chronic diseases cause 70% of deaths worldwide).
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It struck me recently that, had I died during what doctors call my widowmaker heart attack in 2008, the official cause of death would have likely read “myocardial infarction”. But that would have been wrong. The actual cause of my death would have been that I was misdiagnosed with acid reflux and sent home from the Emergency Department.
Continue reading “The dilemma of the death certificate”

Deep thoughts about death and heart disease

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

I loved reading the late Yale Medical School professor Dr. Sherwin Nuland’s highly-recommended book How We Die – which is not nearly as grim as it may sound. In fact, it’s an endlessly fascinating read. For heart patients, the concept of death can suddenly become far more personally compelling than most of us ever imagined it to be.

But we live in a death-denying society. People don’t want to think about death, much less talk about it. As Dr. Nuland wrote, death to most of us occurs “in sterile seclusion cloaked in euphemism and taboo”. We don’t even like using the ‘D’-word. Instead of ‘dying’, some of us prefer to just “pass away” or “go to be with Jesus”. Continue reading “Deep thoughts about death and heart disease”