The body of a 53-year-old man was found in a burning car. The ignition key was in start position and the accelerator pedal was held down by his right foot. Autopsy revealed a gunshot entrance wound in the hard palate, a bullet track through the anterior cranial fossa and a projectile lodged in the left frontal lobe. The brain stem was free of lesions and any signs of secondary brain injury, such as brain oedema and intracranial haemorrhage, were not significant. Soot deposits and thermal injury to the mucosa were observed in the airways below the glottis and carboxyhaemoglobin (COHb) saturation was 40%. A single bullet case and a handgun were recovered next to the driver's seat. Fire investigators identified the motor as the beginning of the burning: therefore, the conclusion was that the car had caught fire due to overheating of the engine. Differential diagnosis between complex and complicated suicide was essential. The cause of death was identified as carbon monoxide intoxication, and the injuries to the brain were not felt to be immediately fatal. The case has been classified as a complicated suicide. There are no other published cases of a complicated suicide involving exposure to fire or the use of firearms.

A burned body with a gunshot wound in the mouth and a suicide note: A complex or complicated suicide?

Simonit F.;Da Broi U.;Furioso C.;Desinan L.
2020-01-01

Abstract

The body of a 53-year-old man was found in a burning car. The ignition key was in start position and the accelerator pedal was held down by his right foot. Autopsy revealed a gunshot entrance wound in the hard palate, a bullet track through the anterior cranial fossa and a projectile lodged in the left frontal lobe. The brain stem was free of lesions and any signs of secondary brain injury, such as brain oedema and intracranial haemorrhage, were not significant. Soot deposits and thermal injury to the mucosa were observed in the airways below the glottis and carboxyhaemoglobin (COHb) saturation was 40%. A single bullet case and a handgun were recovered next to the driver's seat. Fire investigators identified the motor as the beginning of the burning: therefore, the conclusion was that the car had caught fire due to overheating of the engine. Differential diagnosis between complex and complicated suicide was essential. The cause of death was identified as carbon monoxide intoxication, and the injuries to the brain were not felt to be immediately fatal. The case has been classified as a complicated suicide. There are no other published cases of a complicated suicide involving exposure to fire or the use of firearms.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11390/1181922
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