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Neonatal Freshwater Drowning After Birth in the Bathroom

Dressler, Jan MD*; Schmidt, Uwe MD*; Hanisch, Uwe MD*; Demmler, Guńter MD*; Riehn, Axel MD; Pollak, Stefan MD

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: June 2011 - Volume 32 - Issue 2 - p 119-123
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e318187dff9
Original Articles

The macroscopic and microscopic findings in neonatal freshwater drowning are demonstrated on the basis of 3 exemplary cases of birth in the bathroom after concealed pregnancy. If the newborn is expelled under water and remains there until death, the lungs cannot be ventilated with air. In case of incomplete or only temporary submersion, aeration of the lungs may develop in the immediate postpartum period. The morphologic criteria of separate existence are critically discussed with respect to the presented findings.

From the Departments of *Legal Medicine, and †Gynecology and Obstetrics, Technical University, Dresden, Germany; and ‡Institute of Legal Medicine, Albert Ludwig University, Feiburg, Germany.

Reprints: Jan Dressler, MD, Department of Legal Medicine, Technical University,Fetscherstrasse 74, D-01307 Dresden, Germany. E-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.