A case of town-gas intoxication occurring to a family

Y. Hashimoto, F. Moriya, S. Miyaishi, H. Ishizu

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2 Citations (Scopus)


A peculiar case of town-gas intoxication occurring to a family is reported. The victims were a 56-year-old man, his 52-year-old wife and his 20-year-old daughter. They were found in the room at third floor of an apartment house made of reinforced concrete. Although the man had already died, his wife and daughter were comatose. From the autopsy findings, the post-mortem interval of the corpse was presumably 3-4 days and CO-Hb concentrations in left and right ventricular blood were 60.7 and 62.2%, respectively. The typical components of town-gas, methane, ethylene and ethane, were detected in air of lung and in several organs. The cause of death of man was CO intoxication due to town-gas. After a short duration of recovery of consciousness by general emergency treatment, his wife relapsed into a coma. The bilateral necroses in globus pallidus and nucleus caudatus of his daughter was confirmed by MRI and CT. Although she could recover from a coma by emergency treatment, amnesia and intelligence disorder have remained. Decubital ulcers were recognized on the backs of bodies of wife and daughter, but not on that of the corpse. The leak volume of town-gas from the gas-cooker was 0.430-0.434 m3 an hour, which was nearly equal to 0.0258-0.0260 m3 of CO volume an hour. CO concentration in the room can increase at the rate of 0.03% an hour in the condition of uniform diffusion of town-gas. Because the possibility of surviving during 4 days under this circumstance is low, the main cause of survival of his wife and daughter is presumably unequal diffusion of town-gas in the room. The cause of leak of town-gas from the gas-cooker is not clear until now.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-480
Number of pages6
JournalJapanese Journal of Legal Medicine
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Law


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