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September 1950

SUDDEN AND UNEXPECTED NATURAL DEATH: V. Causes of Death Classified by Sex and Age

Author Affiliations

Director, Department of Pathology, St. Joseph Hospital FORT WAYNE, IND.

From the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, New York.

Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1950;86(3):361-375. doi:10.1001/archinte.1950.00230150044003

THIS IS the fifth in a series of papers on sudden and unexpected natural death and is devoted to the causes of such death at various ages. The material in question includes 2,030 persons examined at autopsy over a seven and one-half year period (Jan. 1, 1937 to June 30, 1943) in the Borough of Manhattan, New York city, by members of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

As indicated in the first report1 and in the opening paragraph of Merkel's2 contribution, the unexpected appearance of death often outweighs its suddenness. The end may come within twenty-four hours after initial symptoms in the apparently healthy person, or there may be a quick, rapidly developing change for the worse in a gently progressive disease. It is this dramatic intrusion of the unexpected which is so often responsible for arousing suspicion of violence. A simple example is the accusation