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Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 133–135 | Cite as

Lethal carbon monoxide toxicity in a concrete shower unit

  • Karen Heath
  • Roger W. ByardEmail author
Images in Forensics

Abstract

A 47-year-old previously-well woman was found dead on the floor of a shower cubicle on a property in rural South Australia. The impression of the attending doctor and police was of collapse due to natural disease. Although there was significant stenosing coronary artery atherosclerosis found at autopsy, cherry pink discoloration of tissues prompted measurement of the blood carboxyhemoglobin level which was found to be 55%. The source of the gas was a poorly-maintained hot water heater that was mounted on the inside wall of the shower. Construction of the shower using an impermeable concrete rain water tank had caused gas accumulation when the water heater malfunctioned. Had lethal carbon monoxide exposure not been identified others using the same shower unit would also have been at risk.

Keywords

Carbon monoxide Asphyxia Shower Gas water heater Malfunction 

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

This paper was approved by Forensic Science SA.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Forensic Science SAAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.School of MedicineUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.School of Health SciencesThe University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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