On the phenomenology of lethal applications of insulin

Forensic Science International : Synergy
G Kernbach-Wighton, Klaus Püschel


This study deals with the postmortem findings in cases of lethal hypoglycaemia due to injections of insulin. In 12 cases (four female; eight male; mean age 42 years) the following aspects were evaluated retrospectively: circumstances of life, scene of death, pathomorphological findings and postmortem biochemistry on cerebrospinal fluid, vitreous humour, blood, and urine (levels of glucose, lactate, hemoglobin A1C and insulin). Furthermore, analyses of ethanol in blood and urine as well as toxicological and histological examinations were performed. Unexpectedly, the dead persons rarely represented diabetics, relatives of diabetics, or medical personnel. It is concluded, that the diagnosis of fatal hypoglycaemia can only be established by a synopsis of postmortem biochemistry, pathomorphological alterations and anamnesis. Besides, this diagnosis must always be made "per exclusionem".


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