Establishment of Identity and Suffocation Following Inhalation of Carbon Monoxide in a Series of Five Cases

Authors

  • Meenakshi Malhotra
  • H.V.Vaidya
  • N.P. Zanjad

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.37506/mlu.v22i1.3183

Keywords:

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, Confined Space,Identification, Mass casualty, Suffocation.

Abstract

A rapid and sudden death in a single incident like mass casualty poses challenge for health care facilities.
Especially in such cases, identification of the deceased is the most important task for investigating police
officers and doctors. The present study is a seriesof death of five young adult male workers,who died in a
tragic fire which broke out in the confined space at under construction plant. All the bodies were rendered
unidentifiable from facial recognition due to charring and blackening. Theprimary identification of the
deceased was established based upon partially burnt clothes and personal belongings. The autopsy
findings being superficial to deep burns, charring and blackening, soot particles inrespiratory tract were
similar in all the five victims. The bloodpreserved for estimation ofcarboxy-haemoglobin level showed
positive results in all the five cases. Soot in trachea and increased carboxy-haemoglobin level in blood
suggested that the persons were alive at the time of incident. In all the five cases, death was caused due
to suffocation by inhalation of carbon monoxide gas associated with thermal injuries. Role of forensic
experts is to help in the identification of victims and to determine manner and cause of death.

Author Biographies

Meenakshi Malhotra

Junior Resident, Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology,B.J.Government Medical College, Pune, Maharashtra

H.V.Vaidya

Assistant Professor, Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology,B.J.Government Medical College, Pune, Maharashtra

N.P. Zanjad

Professor and Head, Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology,B.J.Government Medical College, Pune, Maharashtra

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Published

2021-11-08

How to Cite

Meenakshi Malhotra, H.V.Vaidya, & N.P. Zanjad. (2021). Establishment of Identity and Suffocation Following Inhalation of Carbon Monoxide in a Series of Five Cases. Medico Legal Update, 22(1), 70–73. https://doi.org/10.37506/mlu.v22i1.3183