This program discusses the causes, symptoms and pathological findings of chemical asphyxiation, whereas part 2 deals with the various types of traumatic asphyxiation. Several cases of carbon monoxide poisoning are presented to illustrate how the medical examiner's office detected the cause of these unnatural deaths with postmortem examinations and autopsy findings. The first case presented is a woman who died 48 hours after hospital admission for suspected barbiturate poisoning. Bullous lesions were found all over her body. Necrosis of the globus pallidus and ventricular hemorrhage of the brain indicate that this is a delayed death caused by acute carbon monoxide poisoning. A defectively operating gas-flame refrigerator is found by Health Department personnel to be the source of the large amount of carbon monoxide in the air. Several other deaths of the same cause are then described to further illustrate the physiopathologic findings characteristic of carbon monoxide poisoning. The program recommends that carbon monoxide detection be included in the blood tests given to any comatose patients upon admission into the hospital.
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