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Week 3 - Defining Death

by: Rebecca Stewart

Week 3 - Defining Death 3267

Rebecca Stewart

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About this Document

These notes cover what was discussed the first meeting of week 3. This material will be on the first exam. (2/3)
Death, Dying, and Bereavement
Dr. Diane Zablotsky
Class Notes
defining death, sociology, bereavement, Death, Dying, week 3
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Rebecca Stewart on Monday February 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 3267 at University of North Carolina - Charlotte taught by Dr. Diane Zablotsky in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 28 views. For similar materials see Death, Dying, and Bereavement in Sociology at University of North Carolina - Charlotte.


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Date Created: 02/01/16
1/26/16 - 1/28/16 Death, Dying and Bereavement Class Notes (Leming Ch. 2) Week 3 – Defining Death Overview from last class • Average life expectancy doubled (78-79) o Predicted 83 • Highest life expectancy o White female o Colored female o White male o Colored male Statistics • The united states has the 28 in the world for infant mortality (6.1 x 1000) o What does that say about the countries ahead of us? • In 2012, 13.7% was 65 years and older; 62.8% 18-64 years old/working class • In 2030, 20.3% was 65 years and older; 57.3% 19-64 years old/working class Death trajectory – illustrative tool of dying process based on different causes of death • Doesn’t display quality of life • We want a “Rectangular death” – healthy then die • Chronic illness – slow, steady decline in health with a predictable time of death o Most common • Unpredictable death – slow, ambiguous decline in health • Life- threatening condition – healthy then decline in health/death • Sudden death – health then death Population Pyramid –demographic tool, illustration of birth cohorts based on gender and age • Every 5-10 years. • See how population is distributed and historical events (wars, natural disasters) • Want rectangular because it shows an increase of life expectancy • Cohort – group of people with shared experience o Birth cohort – people who are born around the same time § Example – baby boomers Be comfortable talking about correlations regarding death Social reality: Due to increased life expectancy, Urbanization and industrialization has caused death to be removed from our everyday life • Increased ageism 1 1/26/16 - 1/28/16 Death, Dying and Bereavement Class Notes (Leming Ch. 2) Causes of death • Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US o Symptoms of heart attacks/heart disease are different for women and men o Increased in females: smoking more, not going to doctor • Cancers are the 2 leading cause of death in the US o Smoking is the leading factor that we can modify to reduce death rate o Different types of cancers have different mortality rate § Lung cancer • Strokes are the 3 leading cause of death in the US o Sooner the medical attention the better Society must determine the dead: 1. Define what dead is 2. Agree on criteria 3. Apply criteria to the individual 4. Pronounce the person dead 5. Who? Medical doctor or coroner o Also have to attest to your death by signing death certificate (usually you get multiple copies) History of dead • Visible signs were the only way to determine death: o Reflex in eyes (pupils dilated) o Body temperature § Algor mortis – decrease in core body temperature when you are dead o Liver mortis – purple discoloration at low points § Blood pools, stops circulating o Rigor Mortis – body gets stiff • 1968, Harvard Medical School came up with the definition of death o Lack of response to stimuli o Absence of breathing and movement o Absence of reflexes o Flat EEG § Shows brain activity o These tests are repeated every 24 hours? • As technology advances, the definition of death is been effected o Example: Organ harvesting • Cultural lag – one aspect of society outpaces the others o Example: elders dating, what should they call one another? Robert Veatch – one of the early writers in social sciences • Looked at the definition and determination of death (four things to be considered): 1. Irreversible loss of flow of bodily fluids (can your heart beat?) 2. Irreversible loss of capacity for bodily integration (body cant regulate itself, it needs help functioning) 2 1/26/16 - 1/28/16 Death, Dying and Bereavement Class Notes (Leming Ch. 2) § Technology = life support 3. Irreversible loss of soul from body (at what point is your soul gone/appear?) 4. Irreversible loss of capacity for consciousness and social interaction 3


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