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Rise in people found dead and decomposed suggests breakdown of support networks, say researchers

BMJ 2023; 383 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.p2782 (Published 24 November 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;383:p2782
  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

Researchers have raised concerns over the increasing number of people in England and Wales whose bodies have begun to decompose by the time they are discovered—a signal, they said, of “wider societal breakdowns of both formal and informal social support networks.”1

The research team from the University of Oxford and Imperial College London analysed Office for National Statistics data from 1979 to 2020, using deaths coded as “unattended” (R98) and “other ill-defined and unknown causes of mortality” (R99) as a proxy for deaths where people had …

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