Death scene evaluation in a case of fatal accidental carbon monoxide toxicity

Antioco Franco Sedda, Gabriele Rossi

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Exposure of humans to high concentrations of carbon monoxide can result in death, due to the formation of carboxyhaemoglobin (COHb), which impairs the oxygen carrying capacity of the haemoglobin. Carbon monoxide is responsible of a great number of accidental domestic poisonings and deaths throughout the world, particularly in homes that have faulty or poorly vented combustion appliances. A case is reported, in which a 21-year-old woman was found dead, due to carbon monoxide poisoning from a gas water heater, despite the puzzling evidence that the heater has been used for more than 10 years without any problem. An evaluation of the exposure to CO was performed, by measuiring the rate of production of CO from the heater, and using the Coburn-Forster-Kane equation to describe the kinetics of the poisoning process. The death was attributed to an accidental poisoning from carbon monoxide due to a sum of unfortunate circumstances. © 2006 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164 - 167
Number of pages4
JournalForensic Science International
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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