Orensic Pathology Case Study: The 31-Year-Old Female”
Read the below case study and answer the three (3) questions that follow:
A 31-year-old female, married, mother of 3, has been depressed since the birth of her last child, some 3 months previously. On multiple occasions her husband has encouraged her to seek mental health counseling and/or pharmacotherapy for her depression, as well as spiritual counseling, however she has been resistant to doing any of these things.
One afternoon, when her husband is away at a business conference, she calls her mother and asks that she take her grandchildren for the day, as their mom needs a?a break.a? Her mother picks up the children, taking them to her home.
The female then ingests the remaining contents in her valium prescription bottle, and begins drinking alcohol. After a few hours, she is still awake, and disgusted at her inability to kill herself. She gets into her vehicle, and drives out into the forest that surrounds the community in which she lives.
A truck driver, going home down a small mountain rode at approximately 2230 hours, comes upon her vehicle, which has struck a tree. Sitting in his truck and shining his spotlight on the scene, he notes that the female is half-in and half-out of the vehicle, not moving. The truck driver proceeds home, and goes to bed.
A Sheriffas Deputy, on routine patrol, comes upon the scene at approximately 0530 the next morning. Assessing the patient, he finds her to be non-responsive, non-breathing, pulseless, cold to the touch, and somewhat stiff. Going to work at 0630 the next morning, the truck driver again comes upon the crash scene, however there are now multiple official vehicles present, including the Sheriffas Department, California Highway Patrol, and County Coroner. The truck driver rolls down his window, and says to the CHP officer a?I see you found her.a? The CHP officer inquires as to what, exactly, the truck driver means, to which he replies a?Thatas exactly the way she was when I came by here 8-hours ago.a? At this point the CHP officer invites the truck driver to carefully park his truck in an area of road that would not obstruct other traffic, and offers to provide further transportation for the truck driver.
The body is removed to the County Morgue. The Forensic Pathologist completes his initial inspection of the clothed body, following which an external inspection of the unclothed body is conducted, revealing no findings of note. To accomplish his internal autopsy examination, the Forensic Pathologist punctures the skin in the Left Acromioclavicular region to begin the classic Y-incision, upon which he thinks he hears a very faint moan.
a) What are possible explanations for the observation of the Forensic Pathologist?
b) What factors did or could cause this?
c) What actions should the Forensic Pathologist take to address this situation?