Archive for the ‘Forensic Investigation of Death’ Category

Trayvon Martin’s manner of death

March 21, 2012

Trayvon Martin is the 17-year-old youth who was killed by George Zimmerman (a 28-year-old man). This happened on February 26, 2012.

There is a Death Investigation proceeding. From a forensic nurse perspective, I want to know if this is a criminal or noncriminal homicide. It appears the local law enforcement agency is considering it a pending noncriminal homicide while an investigation is ongoing. This does not mean that it cannot be changed to a criminal homicide later.

With the U.S. Justice Department looking into this case, it will take longer to find a conclusion. Also with emotions very strong across the country, a conclusion will not be quick.

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Alzheimer’s disease

February 7, 2012

Patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease usually experience symptoms in their mid to late 60s. These symptoms usually include memory loss and confusion, developing to severe dementia. Because of their confusion, Alzheimer’s patients in nursing homes sometimes wander from their rooms or beds and fall and injure themselves, accidents that can sometimes be fatal.
Forensic nursing may be required in such situations. Nursing homes are accountable for the accidents that occur in their facilities. The extent of the Alzheimer’s disease in the patient sometimes needs to be determined for legal reasons. This is accomplished by examining the brain and the presence of neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. (Lehne, Richard A. Pharmacology for Nursing Care, 6th ed.)

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Death and birth control

December 4, 2011

Forensic nurses are regularly involved with examining the dead and helping to determine the cause of death. It can be important in the case of a deceased female to have a record of contraceptive use and past abortions. These birth control measures can affect the body system by causing hypertension, thromboembolic disorders, glucose intolerance, or hormone changes. In abuse cases it is helpful to know if the woman was on her menstrual period to help identify bleeding as natural or a result of trauma.

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Hemophilia

September 9, 2011

Hemophilia A is the most common hereditary disease associated with bleeding. It is caused be a decrease in amount or activity of factor VIII. Factor VIII is an important protein involved in the coagulation process, mainly in the intrinsic pathway. Hemophiliacs have a tendency to bruise easily, and have massive hemorrhage after trauma or surgical procedures. Recurrent bleeding in joints also occurs in people with this disease. When hemophiliacs bleed, they do not bleed faster than normal, they bleed longer because the coagulation process does not function properly. This condition can lead to death and may not be diagnosed until an autopsy is performed by medical personnel, such as forensic nurses.

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President Obama will not release public pictures of the dead Osama bin Laden

May 5, 2011

Is President Barack Obama correct on this decision not to release disfigured photos of the dead Osama Bin Laden? Yes, he is.

The spirit of international and US laws prohibit the public release of photos of the deceased. Note that the US is unhappy when pictures of dead Americans are broadcasted publicly.

Morally speaking, most Americans would not want pictures of their disfigured passed away loved one broadcasted publicly. The moral, social and spiritual beliefs of a victim and family members should be taken into account. Also the moral, social, and spiritual belief of the country in possession of the pictures should be taken into account.

Ethically speaking, members of the Forensic Medical and Nursing profession are not permitted to show public pictures of the deceased. This brings me to another point. Forensic physicians, nurses, and personnel should be involved with the handling of Osama bin Laden and others. Forensic healthcare personnel are trained to be objective. They will confirm the cause of death, the time of death, the identification, and identify extra factors. The forensic healthcare personnel are removed from political and military biases. Their training includes caring for victims of war on both sides and innocent bystanders.

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Reporter in Iraq’s life cut short not by a bullet but a “blood clot”

March 6, 2011

According to the New York Times of June 10, 2008, when David Bloom went to Iraq to report on the war his wife was worried he be felled by a bullet or a bomb. He was a victim of a rare genetic abnormality, factor V Leiden, called, factor V that caused a “blood clot” that lodged in his lungs and ended his life. Mr. Bloom also had three additional risk factors: immobility from a long plane ride, irregular eating habits (grabbing a bite when he could) due to his intense schedule and cramped sleeping areas in Army vehicles. If he had not had this rare disorder or if he knew about the disorder he would have been able to take prophylaxis treatment. Factor V disorder is responsible for about a third of cases of D.V.T, deep vein thrombosis, resulting in the veinous thrombosis advancing to the pulmonary embolism and his death. After his death investigation of family shows a cousin who suffered an MI in her forties had Factor V. His grandmother died in pregnancy from a clotting event. The abnormality can increase the risk of CVA, MI, cholelithiasis, pre-eclampsia, etc. Chapter 51 in one of my textbooks discusses drugs used to prevent formation of thrombi and to dissolve thrombi that have already formed by suppressing coagulation, inhibit platelet aggregation and promote clot dissolution. The drugs fall into three major categories: anticoagulants, antiplatelet drugs and thrombolytic drugs. Mr. Bloom would have most likely taken an antiplatelet drug, aspirin, as a preventative, had he only known of his risk.

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Second puzzling case of autism reported, comment

April 12, 2010

Over the course of five years that I was an infusion nurse in a naturopathic medical clinic, I saw several cases of children with autism. These children often had one or several forms of heavy metal poisoning mercury and other metals. When treated with IV chelation these children improved drastically. Most of the history assessments revealed vaccines as the only source of mercury poisoning that was a definite factor.

During the course of the IV chelation and nutritional IV supplementation that went along with this, colonic irrigation was ordered to rid the body of metals that were being chelated out and adhering to the wall of the colon. Interestingly enough with these colonics, parasitic infestations were sometimes noted. Along with the chelation, natural antiparasitic botanicals and homeopathic remedies were given with an even more profound improvement in childrens behaviors related to the autism occured. So much that I intend on testing my autistic and even ADD and ADHD children not only for heavy metal poisoning but comprehensive stool analysis from a private lab when I start my practice.

It is a shame that alternative and what some refer even to "fringe" type medical treatments cannot be better studied in this country mostly due to non-acceptance my the traditional medical community and government funding for research.

I also feel, not only the mercury factor in vaccinations can be harmful but also live/attenuated viruses can become active in some sensitive individuals and possibly these illnees we are are trying to prevent are manifesting and effecting the brain and this is not detected ever or until after profound damage is done and the vaccine may not even become a consideration.

Original Post
November 26, 2009
Title: Second puzzling case of autism reported, comment
As governmental funds for researching the causes and eventual cure of Autism increase, it has naturally gained more attention from the public. I agree that this has its pros and cons. More parents are considering the possible ramifications of dosing their children with multiple vaccines. Parents are becoming more proactive and accountable when it comes to decisions regarding the medical care of their children. It is shedding light on a disease that has been, up until recently, misunderstood by most. On the flip side there isn’t a whole lot of concrete evidence linking autism directly to vaccine administration, yet there is a multitude of evidence that suggests that vaccines have saved lives, prevented the spread of potentially fatal disease and in some cases has eradicated the disease all together. I have a family member that became adamant that her children were never going to receive any type of vaccine – she executed extensive research on vaccines and homeopathic alternatives. To date her children have not received a single vaccine, they take multiple vitamins and herbal supplements on a daily basis and their diet is quite restricted. Sadly and ironically, her 13 year old son was diagnosised with autism at 3 years old.

Original Post
July 1, 2009
Title: Second puzzling case of autism reported
Federal health officials at an upcoming conference the controversial cases of a 9-year-old girl who became autistic after receiving numerous vaccinations. In January a 6-year-old girl received a flu vaccine and a week later became ill requiring hospitalization and ultimately died. Study after study has failed to show a link between vaccines and autism but many parents of autistic children claim that childhood vaccinations they received are responsible. In 1986 a National Vaccine injury compensation program was introduced to compensate injured children from vaccines. Many deadly epidemics have been prevented by vaccination. For the parent of a child injured following vaccination, grief and ambivalence would prevail. The questions that continue regarding these very complicated situations cause great concern for parents trying to decide whether to immunize a child.

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Stings Sweeling, and facial recognition

January 25, 2010

I wonder if inflammation from a bite or sting affects the facial recognition. For example, say someone is hiking in the woods and is stung by a swarm of bees, causing them to pass away. The face and body would have extensive swelling due to the venom in the bee sting. It would seem the basic structure of the face and body would remain unchanged because no bones were broken and no body structure damaged (unless a fall or something took place alongside the stings). I would imagine the same would be true of a food allergy, like peanuts. When someone eats something they are allergic too, their windpipe closes restricting the air flow. That would attest to the sudden, otherwise unharmed body. But their face and bodies swell too. Would that swelling cause someone not to recognize them?

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Livor, Rigor, and Algor Mortis and Inflammation

January 25, 2010

One item of interest that I have been reading on is inflammation and its role in identifying a body after death. The website of Forensic Pathology talks about the time of death and the ways to tell when that happened. It speaks on livor mortis, rigor mortis, and algor mortis. Livor mortis, being the discoloration of the body due to blood settling, and the rigor mortis, the stiffening of the body, would be the areas of mortis that would promote inflammation. As I have never seen a dead body, I have never seen how these two types change the body after death. I have only seen a dead body in a funeral home, so I’ve only seen one after the funeral director and staff has done their jobs, which I am sure has some kind of draining.

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Clinical Scene Investigation and Assessment Skills, comment

January 11, 2010

Police are taught to gather evidence and reconstruct crime scenes, and attorneys are taught to defend or prosecute the parties involved. Neither of these groups, however, can complete their assignments without the help of someone putting the pieces of the client together. This is where the role of the forensic nurse is crucial. Nurses are trained to assess clients from head to toe- critically analyzing every inch of the client. In addition, through comprehensive health histories, we are also able to gather vital information about the client and family members. This information, when coupled with the physical assessment, presents a “whole” picture of not only the client but also possible events leading up to the incident. We are able, when correctly assessing the client, to see causes and effects of lifestyle choices, genetics, and unplanned conditions. This ability and knowledge separates us in many ways from other personnel involved in CSI.

Original Post
November 17, 2009
Title: Clinical Scene Investigation and Assessment Skills
In the same vein as TV’s Crime Scene Investigation show, health care organizations are turning to specially trained teams to investigate severe patient incidents. These teams, titled Clinical Scene Investigators (CSI) are responsible for investigating events that result in permanent patient harm or even death. The investigators gather details about the event from the participants and patient charts and may even sequester equipment as the situation warrants. They look at all the details which lead up to the incident, how the situation occurred and then look for opportunities for process improvement. In situations like these, thorough documentation on the healthcare workers part is paramount. Was the caregiver aware of the pending situation and were appropriate actions taken? In addition, the CSI team members must have superior assessment skills, solid investigatory abilities and excellent communication skills. They must be able to paint a picture in order to determine if more investigation is required.

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