Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Death Stages

The seven stages of death
1. Pallor Mortis - post mortem paleness which happens in those with light/white skin almost instantly (in the 15–25 minutes after the death) because of a lack of capillary circulation throughout the body.
2. Algor mortis - reduction in body temperature following death. This is generally a steady decline until matching ambient temperature. The Glaister equation estimates the hours elapsed since death as a linear function of the rectal temperature: (98.4°F - rectal temperature in Fahrenheit)/1.5
3. Rigor mortis - one of the recognizable signs of death, caused by chemical changes in the muscles after death, causing the limbs of the corpse to become stiff and difficult to move or manipulate.
In humans, it commences after about three to four hours, reaches maximum stiffness after 12 hours, and gradually dissipates until approximately 48 to 60 hours after death.
4. Livor mortis - settling of the blood in the lower (dependent) portion of the body, causing a purplish red discoloration of the skin. When the heart stops functioning and is no longer agitating the blood, heavy red blood cells sink through the serum by action of gravity. It starts twenty minutes after death and reaches its maximum within 6-12 hours.
5. Putrefaction - decomposition of proteins in a process that results in the eventual breakdown of cohesion between tissues and the liquefaction of most organs. The exact rate of putrefaction is dependent upon many factors such as weather, exposure and location. Thus, refrigeration at a morgue or funeral home can retard the process, allowing for burial in three days or so following death without embalming. The rate increases dramatically in tropical climates.
6. Decomposition - process by which organic substances are broken down into simpler forms of matter. Various sciences study the decomposition of bodies under the general rubric of forensics because the usual motive for such studies is to determine the time and cause of death for legal purposes.
7. Skeletonization - the last vestiges of the soft tissues of a corpse or carcass have decayed or dried to the point that the bones of the skeleton are exposed. By the end of the skeletonization process, all soft tissue will have been eliminated, leaving only disarticulated bones....

By Dr. Piya Gupta

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