Document Detail

Accidental fire fatality with sustained combustion.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20386305     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Process    
This is a case of a 59-year-old man found with extensive second to fourth degree thermal burns found lying on the ground several feet from a vehicle used as his domicile. Autopsy revealed extensive loss of soft tissue and fragmentation of bone, mostly to the trunk region, with partial sparing of the upper trunk, head, and extremities.The decedent had a history of acute and chronic substance abuse and it was reported that he was participating in a methadone program. Toxicology reports of autopsy blood obtained from the heart indicated methadone levels of 0.4 mg/L at the time of his death.There was also a trace amount of cocaine present and there was no ethanol detected. Sustained human combustion, or the "wick effect," is concisely defined as the partial destruction of a body by fire, where the victim's clothing absorbs liquefied fatty tissue and acts like a wick of a candle by perpetuating a flame that slowly destroys the body with heat. There are few nonexperimental cases describing this process in the world literature.
Tarin J Romich; Patrick M Horan; Charles A Catanese
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Case Reports; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The American journal of forensic medicine and pathology     Volume:  31     ISSN:  1533-404X     ISO Abbreviation:  Am J Forensic Med Pathol     Publication Date:  2010 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-09-03     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8108948     Medline TA:  Am J Forensic Med Pathol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  250-2     Citation Subset:  IM    
New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, Old Westbury, NY, USA.
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