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Nitrogen–Plastic Bag Suicide: A Case Report

Madentzoglou, Maria S. MD*; Kastanaki, Anastasia E. MSc, PhD*†; Nathena, Despoina MD*; Kranioti, Elena F. MD, PhD*‡; Michalodimitrakis, Manolis MD, JD*

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: December 2013 - Volume 34 - Issue 4 - p 311–314
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0000000000000049
Case Reports

The use of pure nitrogen gas to commit suicide has recently become more popular, although suicides involving nitrogen oxide fumes have been occasionally reported in the past. The cause of death in such cases is attributed to asphyxia due to forced depletion of oxygen, a subcategory of a phenomenon dubbed environmental hypoxia. A case of a 26-year-old man who committed suicide by inhaling nitrogen through a plastic bag is reported. The exact method of suicide used here is one of the many described in detail on the Web.

From the *Department of Forensic Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete; and †State Mental Health Hospital of Chania, Crete, Greece, ‡Edinburgh Unit for Forensic Anthropology, SHCA, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom.

Manuscript received August 27, 2012; accepted January 17, 2013.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Elena F. Kranioti, MD, PhD, Edinburgh Unit for Forensic Anthropology, School of History, Classics and Archaeology, William Robertson Wing, Old Medical School, Teviot Place, Edinburgh EH8 9AG, Scotland, United Kingdom. E-mail:

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.