Case Archive
Pathology, Forensic Pathology
Ref. # 744101

A Virginia woman was a riding a pony which unexpectedly bolted. She became entangled in the reins and was dragged a considerable distance before the pony could be controlled. She was rushed to the ER and died after a short hospitalization. No autopsy was performed. At issue was the cause of death: head trauma vs. asphyxia. A medQuest forensic pathologist opined the woman died as a result of blunt force head trauma despite the fact that she was wearing a protective helmet. She sustained extensive scalp lacerations with excessive blood loss, cerebral edema and severe bilateral retinal hemorrhages. It is well documented that rapid cerebral edema can develop even after minor head trauma. There was no evidence of a neck injury, which is commonly seen in deaths associated with asphyxia.

Pathology, Forensic Pathology
Ref. # 13218

In a criminal case, an Oklahoma bar bouncer was charged with asphyxiating an uncontrollable customer through chest compression, thereby causing his death. A medQuest forensic pathologist reported that the autopsy did not reveal findings common to victims of traumatic compression. Toxicology reports showed a 10 to 20 fold increase of ephedrine and therapeutic levels of pseudoephedrine and guaifenesin, commonly associated with increased cardiac output and blood pressure, arrhythmias, pulmonary edema and convulsions. The acute, combined effects of alcohol, drugs and physical exertion during the struggle led to a cardiac arrythmia, which led to the customer's death.

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