Compression Asphyxia in Upright Suspended Position

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Abstract

In compression asphyxia, the respiration is prevented by external pressure on the body. It is usually due to external force compressing the trunk due to heavy weight over chest/abdomen and is associated with internal injuries. In the present case, the victim was suspended in an upright position owing to wedging of the chest and the abdomen in the gap between 2 parallel bridges undergoing construction. There was neither any heavy weight over the body, nor was any external force applied over the trunk. Moreover, there was neither any severe blunt force injury nor any significant pathological natural disease contributing to the cause of death. The body was wedged in the gap between 2 static hard surfaces. The victim was unable to extricate himself from the position owing to impairment of cognitive responses and coordination due to influence of alcohol. The victim died as a result of “static” asphyxia due to compression of the chest and the abdomen. Compression asphyxia in upright suspended position under this circumstance is very rare and not reported previously to the best of our knowledge.

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