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Suicidal Asphyxiation by Using Pure Helium Gas: Case Report, Review, and Discussion of the Influence of the Internet

Gallagher, Kenneth E. MD; Smith, David M. MD; Mellen, Paul F. MD

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: December 2003 - Volume 24 - Issue 4 - p 361
doi: 10.1097/
Case Reports

Suffocation by inhaled gases has been reported involving a variety of gases. We report a case of suicidal asphyxiation by forced replacement of oxygen with helium by using a complex homemade mask. In this case, a young woman researched suicide on the Internet and found an advocated method of suicide using helium. To our knowledge, there is only 1 previously reported case of suicidal asphyxia by using helium.

From the Department of Pathology, Ball Memorial Hospital, Muncie, Indiana.

Manuscript received March 3, 2003 accepted May 29, 2003.

Reprints: Kenneth E. Gallagher, MD, Ball Memorial Hospital, Department of Pathology, 2401 W. University Ave., Muncie, IN 47303. E-mail:

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.