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A Suicide Using a Homemade Carbon Monoxide “Death Machine”

Prahlow, Joseph A. MD*; Doyle, Barrett W.

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: June 2005 - Volume 26 - Issue 2 - p 177-180
doi: 10.1097/01.paf.0000163833.50043.6c
Case Report

Deaths related to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning are common. Most represent accidents and suicides, and most result from CO production via the incomplete combustion of carbon-containing substances. Suicide via CO toxicity is not uncommon and typically involves the use of motor-vehicle exhaust as a source of CO. Presented herein is a case of suicidal CO poisoning in which the CO was produced via a chemical reaction between formic acid and sulfuric acid within a homemade device.

From the *South Bend Medical Foundation and Indiana University School of Medicine–South Bend Center for Medical Education at the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana; and the †Porter County Coroner's Office, Valparaiso, Indiana.

Manuscript received October 15, 2004; accepted January 10, 2005.

Reprints: Joseph A. Prahlow, MD, South Bend Medical Foundation, 530 N. Lafayette Boulevard, South Bend, IN 46601. E-mail: jprahlow@sbmf.org.

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.