Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you, and sometimes the medical examiner decides the cause of death was, oh, tuberculosis or whatever. According to a survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control, as many as one-third of NYC death certificates list an erroneous cause of death. C'mon, two out of three ain't bad!

The survey culled responses from 521 resident physicians in New York City. 33.3% of all respondents said they believed that cause-of-death reporting is inaccurate, and nearly half said that in the past they'd identified a cause of death that did not actually represent what the person died from. So maybe there's a good chance your cousin Ricky didn't die of auto-erotic asphyxiation after all!

Stupid jokes aside, accurate cause-of-death reporting is important because the information is used by epidemiologists to study changing cause of death patterns. According to the survey, many doctors blamed the inaccurate reporting on bureaucracy, with 76.8% saying "the death certificate system simply would not accept the true cause of death." So they put in something else in the paperwork. Other explanations given by doctors? "My attending told me to put something else” and “I did not know why the patient died/I took my best guess." [Via Washington Post]