View Full Version : postmortem signs of death by dehydration
02-21-2005, 04:39 PM
i'm usually pretty good at research, but this one is eluding me somehow, and i've come to the scene where i need it, so i'm at a standstill.
02-21-2005, 05:58 PM
in a google search i found this listing (http://www.amjforensicmedicine.com/pt/re/ajfmp/abstract.00000433-200209000-00010.htm;jsessionid=CanMTwjm9HetjbNHMS36EJ8OhyGYM CpO1X5PJrj7OmjUZt2D6Fnm!-431612848!-949856032!9001!-1), seeming to state that skin folds and retracted aspect to the eyes are some of the signs. i couldn't get to the full text (members only)
The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology - Fulltext ...
... The autopsy was performed 24 hours after death and showed signs of dehydration
with a skin fold and a retracted aspect of the eyes. ...
www.amjforensicmedicine.com/pt/ re/ajfmp/fulltext.00000433-200209000-00010.htm - Similar pages
in another of their listings (also inaccessible), i saw this line:
Vitreous humor electrolyte levels and immunoassay for rotavirus were useful diagnostic adjuncts.
hope this helps,
02-21-2005, 08:59 PM
depends on the cause of the dehydration, whether it was over a period of days or hours...i.e...thirst and death vs. bleeding to death.
overall, you would see a flaccid overall appearance, probably bluish (from the increasing lack of oxygen), with the appearance of a too large body on a smaller skeletal frame, sagging skin, caved in abdomen...
most dehydrated victims will die of hypoxia or cardiac arrest related to the hypoxia, so it is likely their mouth would be open in a gasping position with eyes closed in a sitting position....these are natural positions you would go to for more air and as the carbon dioxide levels climb until you become unconscious
02-22-2005, 07:54 AM
My sister who is a doctor and studied medicine in a 3rd world country told me the easiest way depending on how long death has set is to check the nasal mucous membranes. In a dehydrated person the membranes are parched and dry. This occures in persons that are dead for a short period or alive.
02-22-2005, 04:34 PM
A swollen tongue and dry, sunken eyes are also signs.
02-22-2005, 05:50 PM
i got a long email from a medical examiner, so i am more than covered. :D
02-22-2005, 06:09 PM
thanks for letting us know. i stopped my fluid intake when i first read your post yeaterday, hoping to provide you with a corpse for reference.
i guess i'll go have some water.
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