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Philemon and Baucis Deaths: Case Reports and Postmortem Biochemistry Contribution

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The death of a person as a reaction to the death of another is known as Philemon and Baucis death and may represent a difficult challenge for pathologists, especially due to the decompositional changes that often characterized these situations. In this article, we describe two cases of Philemon and Baucis deaths, the first concerning a married couple and the second concerning a father and son. Postmortem investigations including radiology and biochemistry were performed. Based on the results of all investigations, deaths were attributed to natural causes. Third‐party involvement could be excluded in both situations. In one case, biochemical analysis results revealed potentially contributing causes of death. The reported cases emphasize the importance of correlating findings from different postmortem investigations to identify causes of death, precipitating conditions and predisposing disorders, thus allowing the conclusion of natural death to be reached and third‐party involvement to be excluded.
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Keywords: 3‐beta‐hydroxybutyrate; autopsy; forensic sciences; ketoacidosis; pericardial fluid; postmortem biochemistry; vitreous humor

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2014

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