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What causes the body to be cold after death ?

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Posted on Fri, 13 Apr 2012
Question: hello Ilost my son in april of this year age 37 he was taken in to hospital on the sunday because the sais he had a inflamed liver but on the sconed day I whent to see him he had a pump which was puy through his leg in to his heat and was beenig given blood thiner bt a pump on the thursdat I recived a phonr call from the dr to go over right now it took me 7 minuest to get to my sone and as I wnt to go in to his roon I was taken to a side room where I was told my son had died I then whent to see my son and when I kissed his face he was cold to the tach they said the tryedto get him back for 35 mimies but when a kissed his face he was cold to the touch which makes me think he has been dead a lot longer then40minets if this is how it happend whay was he so could to the touch I have read that the temperature drops to 1 and half degrees per hour un till it gets to the temperture of its surounding as as his was in hospital is this right can you help me with this please,
Jacky
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Follow up: Dr. Rakhi Tayal (28 minutes later)
Also when I saw my son the morrnig he had passed a way i sa a big bruies on the tpo of his right side of his forehead that was not there the night befor when I went to see him that night so how did the bruies come out so fast I find out that he had fallen of the comode would it come out so soon after this if he was still alive?
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Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal (2 minutes later)
Hello,

Thanks for writing to us.

You have the right information that after death, the body temperature decreases at the rate of 1.5-1.8 degrees Celsius till it reaches the surrounding temperature.

This is the rectal temperature we are talking of and not the temperature of the extremities and face which are expected to be cold in case of compromised blood supply.

Since you kissed his face, it is expected to be colder as there was no blood supply to his face for last at least half an hour and it is constantly being exposed to the external environment.

If still you found your son very cold then the reasons might be-

1. He was on I.V. fluids which were continued till 35 minutes after his death- these fluids tend to bring down the temperature faster.

2. He might have been given a cold sponging due a possible fever.

3. A preferably lower body temperature is tried to maintain while trying to resuscitate to decrease the oxygen requirement of the body so that if he is resuscitated, the tissue damage will be minimum.

It can best be assessed by his treating doctor who has seen the whole situation and knows what treatment was given to him.

I hope my answer and recommendations are adequate and helpful. Waiting for your further follow up queries if any.

Regards.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Shanthi.E
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Dr. Rakhi Tayal

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Practicing since :2001

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What causes the body to be cold after death ?

Also when I saw my son the morrnig he had passed a way i sa a big bruies on the tpo of his right side of his forehead that was not there the night befor when I went to see him that night so how did the bruies come out so fast I find out that he had fallen of the comode would it come out so soon after this if he was still alive?