November 18, 2023

How Do People Die When They Are Killed?

Homicide refers to the killing of a person by another with intention to cause death or serious injury. This includes murder, manslaughter and aggravated assault but excludes death due to legal intervention or operations of war. Homicide rates tend to be higher in low- and middle-income countries and areas.

As people approach the end of life, their body’s systems start to slow down and their breath becomes laboured and noisy. Their lungs become congested and may produce the tell-tale “death rattle.” They will stop eating or drinking as they use less energy. They are not consciously aware of the changes that are taking place and they do not experience pain as their bodies shut down.

In some cases, as people approach death their lungs and ribs may become more visible through their skin. In some instances, they may be uncomfortable if their skin becomes hot or they sweat a lot. If this occurs, you can cool them down and gently pat their skin. During this time, it is important to remember that they can still hear you, so speak clearly and gently.

In general, people die of a mix of conditions at the individual, family, relationship and societal levels. The causes vary by country, with demographic factors – particularly the presence of young people in society - and political changes - such as transitions from communism, apartheid or dictatorship – having a strong impact. In addition, social and economic inequality contributes to high homicide rates.

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