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Medicina Legal de Costa Rica

On-line version ISSN 2215-5287Print version ISSN 1409-0015


RODRIGUEZ PADILLA, Carolina. Cyanide poisoning as a suicide method: case report. Med. leg. Costa Rica [online]. 2021, vol.38, n.1, pp.29-37. ISSN 2215-5287.

Poisoning derives from the presence of a toxic substance or poison in the body, death by poisoning is a violent death and requires a legal medical autopsy, it may occur in the context of an accidental exposure at home or work, or caused by an attempt of self-elimination. Cyanide poisoning can be intentional (suicide / homicide) or accidental, the findings in the autopsy are unspecific, so data provided in the report of death in investigation, the report of the death scene (in case a forensic doctor was present) and the result of the toxicological analyzes, which are not currently performed in the toxicology section of the judiciary, are important. A bibliographic review was carried out in different databases of articles published in the last five years on the subject, with the objective of reviewing the chemical characteristics, the metabolism and the intoxication, as well, including their sequels and lethal implications. It is concluded that to improve the medical legal expertise in cases of cyanide poisoning, it is essential to know the mechanism of action and the possible findings in the external and internal examination; and to implement such scrutiny in the list of substances to be analyzed.

Keywords : Intoxication; suicide; homicide; accident; cyanide; Medical legal autopsy.

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