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Death is defined by the cessation of all biological functions and is typically considered a suboptimal outcome. Patients often state their preference for ongoing life as opposed to death.


It can be very challenging to elicit symptoms in a patient who has suffered from death. In fact, many of these patients look peaceful and have no complaints. Collateral history is very useful here. But be forewarned: death can be pretty sneaky.[1]


Vital signs can be very telling in a patient with death: temperature is room temperature or less, blood pressure is 0, heart rate is 0, respiratory rate is 0, and oxygen saturation is 0%. Physical exam can be very challenging due to the patient's lack of participation.[2] One, however, may note in the moments preceding death a death rattle, death giggle, or both.


Imaging can help support the diagnosis of death. Pan-scanning provides the best use of resources.[3]


However, just because a patient has died doesn't mean they are no longer a candidate for treatment. One of the most popular treatments after death is chemotherapy.[4] For more information, see Postmortem Chemotherapy.


Tammyflu and a multivitamin.[5][6]

Future Directions

Unfortunately, there have been no breakthroughs with this condition and the global death rate remains constant at 100%.[7]

Related Reading


  1. Season 2 Episode 4 "My Old Lady" (Scrubs)
  2. AMA Holds Funeral Service for Physical Exam (Gomerblog)
  3. Ever Wonder How Radiologists Know What Studies to Recommend? (Gomerblog)
  4. FDA Approves Groundbreaking Postmortem Chemotherapy Protocol (Gomerblog)
  5. New Study Shows Tammyflu Pills Provide Eternal Life (Gomerblog)
  6. New Multivitamin Cures Cancer, Heart Disease, Famine, Evil (Gomerblog)
  7. World Death Rate Holding Steady At 100 Percent (The Onion)

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