LONDON, UK: Ending speculations around the Queen’s demise, the official death certificate has been made public by the authorities. Apart from other details, such as official informant, and time of death, the most curious question it answered was "cause of death." In this particular section it reads, "old age," but many wonder what it actually means.

Talking from a medical perspective, saying someone "died of old age" is actually "extremely rare" and usually considered "inaccurate." It is only in "very limited circumstances" that a coroner may use this term on someone’s death certificate.


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What is meant by ‘Geriatric failure to thrive’?

As per medical experts, a person’s cause of death cannot simply be aging. In fact, there’s a condition called "Geriatric failure to thrive" which is used for describing an older individual’s "declining state." Its symptoms are "weight loss, decreased appetite, poor nutrition, and inactivity," suggests medical professionals.

As per the GP notebook, certain situations are appropriate where medical personnel can term, "old age" as somebody’s cause of death. These situations comprise having "personally caring for the deceased over a long period (years, or many months)" and "observing a gradual decline in your patient's general health and function."

Other circumstances where "old age" can be used as a cause of death include "a lack of awareness around any identifiable disease or injury that contributed to the death," and being "certain that there is no reason that the death should be reported to the coroner."

The site also pointed out that professionals who are involved with the care of the deceased, such as crematorium referees, coroners, registrars and organizations that regulate standards in health and social care, "will likely ask you to support your statement with information from the patient's medical records and any investigations that might have a bearing on the cause of death."

They further said, “It is unlikely that patients would be admitted to an acute hospital if they had no apparent disease or injury.” Accordingly, doctors are advised the same, and told to use "appropriate, any medical or surgical conditions that may have contributed to the death" alongside "old age."

The longest-serving British monarch Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8, at her Balmoral Estate. She passed away at age 96, after serving for 70 years on the throne.