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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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How to ascertain the cause of death of my brother?

Hi Doctor, My brother died about 3 years ago today and when he did everyone said the reason was unknown. The corpse was found approximately 3 days late. It was said to be pitch black and swollen. He had no shirt on. He was into marijuana at the time. Is it possible that his drug was laced? Is it common for a corpse to turn completely black that soon. I want to know. Thank you
Mon, 11 Apr 2016
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Dentist 's  Response

I am sorry for your loss. If your brother was addicted to Marijuana, there is more chance that Marijuana poisoning could be the reason of his death. However, when the body was found after 3 days, the police might have sent it for postmortem to find the specific cause of death. Overdose of Marijuana can cause seizures, cardiac arrest, heart attack and/or stroke. All these effects are life threatening and can lead to sudden death.

To answer your second question, as soon as the person dies, decomposition of the body starts. Decomposition of living matter produces gases and liquids that accumulate in the dead body and find a way to get out. That is the reason the body starts to swell and it keeps swelling until the skin breaks and fluid and gases find their way to get out. Black color of the body is typical indication of active decomposition process going on in the body. Also, when a person dies, blood stops circulating in the body causing the color of the skin to turn ashen or dark. The description you have given of the body typically shows that 3 days had passed since the person had died. There is nothing unusual that has happened in that case.

I hope this answer satisfies your curiosity. I wish you can make peace with what happened to your brother and take a lesson to always stay away from such awful addictions. Thank you for choosing HealthCareMagic. Take care.

Best Regards,
Dr. Viraj Shah
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