"Death may come on like a stroke of lightening ..." : Phenomenological and morphological aspects of fatalities caused by manure gas

Oesterhelweg, L; Püschel, K (2008). "Death may come on like a stroke of lightening ..." : Phenomenological and morphological aspects of fatalities caused by manure gas. International journal of legal medicine, 122(2), pp. 101-7. Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag 10.1007/s00414-007-0172-8

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Due to the decomposition of biological material, hydrogen sulphide (H(2)S) is produced. In low concentrations, the well-known smell of "rotten eggs" is associated with H(2)S. In higher concentrations, H(2)S is an odourless and colourless gas that may cause rapid loss of consciousness, neurological and respiratory depression and imminent death-"... like a stroke of lightening". Hydrogen sulphide poisoning is an un-common incident that is often associated with colleague fatalities. In this study, 4 fatal accidents with 10 deceased victims are reported and the morphological and phenomenological aspects are presented. In these cases, the morphological findings, namely, discolouration of the livores, pulmonary pathologies and sub-mucosal or sub-serosal congestion bleeding were found in nearly all cases. Also the impending threat for colleagues, first aid helpers and professional rescue teams is demonstrated. The suspicion of a fatal H(2)S intoxication should be based on a precise scene analysis with respect to the possibility of life-threatening H(2)S intoxication for the helpers, the typical scent of rotten eggs, which may be noted on the corpses and the abovementioned morphological findings. The diagnosis should be confirmed by a qualitative and, if possible, quantitative analysis of H(2)S.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine > Management

UniBE Contributor:

Oesterhelweg, Lars

ISSN:

0937-9827

ISBN:

17486359

Publisher:

Springer-Verlag

Language:

English

Submitter:

Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:56

Last Modified:

30 Jul 2020 08:30

Publisher DOI:

10.1007/s00414-007-0172-8

PubMed ID:

17486359

Web of Science ID:

000252626100003

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.24055

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/24055 (FactScience: 46595)

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