Evaluation of Sudden Death in Psychiatric Patients with Special Reference to Phenothiazine Therapy: Forensic Pathology

    Volume 33, Issue 2 (March 1988)

    ISSN: 0022-1198

    CODEN: JFSOAD

    Published Online: 1 March 1988

    Page Count: 9


    Poklis, A
    Associate professor, St. Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO

    Laposata, EA
    Assistant professor, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

    Hale, P
    Scientific and professional affairs manager, Hoechst-Roussel Pharmaceuticals, Lombard, IL

    (Received 11 May 1987; accepted 10 June 1987)

    Abstract

    The investigation of sudden unexpected death in psychiatric patients and the ensuing litigation has brought to our attention many unusual features important in the evaluation of such deaths. Certain pathophysiologic mechanisms of death, rarely encountered in routine forensic science practice, may be important in determining the cause of death in psychiatric patients, especially in cases where the autopsy is unrevealing. Of particular concern is a tendency in the current literature to implicate phenothiazines as a cause of death when the death investigation and the autopsies are incomplete. Thus, based on our experience and on a review of the current literature, we have set forth factors that the forensic pathologist should consider when faced with a sudden psychiatric death. A case report illustrates these unique aspects of scene investigation and analysis of terminal events and autopsy findings.


    Paper ID: JFS11956J

    DOI: 10.1520/JFS11956J

    ASTM International
    is a member of CrossRef.

    Author
    Title Evaluation of Sudden Death in Psychiatric Patients with Special Reference to Phenothiazine Therapy: Forensic Pathology
    Symposium , 0000-00-00
    Committee E30