In cases of suspected hypothermia or of intoxication with central active substances in combination with hypothermia death can only be certified when absolute reliable signs of death are present or after rewarming of the body in a clinic ("only a warm body is a dead body"). In the case at issue a 63 year old woman was found lifeless at the bank of the Rhine and the emergency doctor certified death after proving "death rigor" in the jaw and the upper extremities. Due to the apparent non natural death he did not take off the clothes. According to the laws of disposal of the dead of several countries of the Federal Republic of Germany the clothes of a dead must not be taken off if a non natural death seems possible. However, in cases due to hypothermia the differential diagnosis between rigor mortis and cold stiffening has to be made; therefore it is mandatory to examine postmortem lividity as well since it always becomes apparent before rigor mortis but is missing in cases of cold stiffening. In contrast to the different laws of disposal of the dead of various German countries the medical doctor has to do everything which is necessary to declare a person dead.
|Translated title of the contribution||False certification of death in a living person with paroxetin intoxication|
|Journal||Notfall und Rettungsmedizin|
|Number of pages||4|
|Publication status||Published - 12.2005|