Upwards of 2.8 million people die every year in the United States. As a funeral director who heads a university mortuary science program, I can tell you that while each individual’s life experiences are unique, what happens to a body after death follows a broadly predictable chain of events.
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In general, it depends on three things: where you die, how you die and what you or your family decide on for funeral arrangements and final disposition.
In death’s immediate aftermath
Death can happen anywhere: at home; in a hospital, nursing or palliative care facility; or at the scene of an accident, homicide or suicide.
A medical examiner or coroner must investigate whenever a person dies unexpectedly while not under a doctor’s care. Based on the circumstances of the death, they determine whether an autopsy is needed. If…