22 March, 2012

Autopsy diagnosis of deaths due to scorpion stinging

Lavlesh Kumar and co-workers are publishing a paper in a forthcoming issue of Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine presenting a case report of an autopsy after a scorpion induced death. The paper also discuss the problems and challenges connected to post-mortem investigation after suspected scorpion induced deaths.

Post-mortem diagnosis of envenomation by a scorpion with or without a reliable history is a herculean task for any forensic pathologist. The challenge is compounded when stinging occurs at night, with the history remaining unreliable. The autopsy diagnosis is further complicated when the inflicted wound is small, and the mark is obliterated by healing within few days. As the venom of a scorpion is a mixture of enzymes, most of the forensic science laboratories in India fail to diagnose the poisoning. We present a case in which there was no external evidence of stinging, but the internal post-mortem findings along with histology of the organ systems pointed towards the diagnosis and were corroborated by the history. We reemphasise the importance of pathological sampling of organ systems, whenever there is death due to a suspicious, unknown insect bite.

Kumar L, Naik SK, Agarwal SS, Bastia BK. Autopsy diagnosis of a death due to scorpion stinging - A case report. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine. 2012;In Press. [Subscription required for full text]

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