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Analysis of a helium death

For general information:
Asphyxial Suicide by Inhalation of Helium Inside a Plastic Bag.

Case Report
American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology. 28(4):364-367,
December 2007.
Schon, Corinna Ariane MD; Ketterer, Thomas MD

Abstract: Asphyxial suicide by placing a plastic bag over the head, especially in
combination with inhalation of gases, is a rarely described method of committing suicide. This article reports a case of suicidal asphyxiation by inhaling the inert gas helium inside a plastic bag. A 64-year-old man probably followed the instructions described in an article about committing suicide written by a medical practitioner from Zurich. This form of suicide is recommended by right-to-die groups and in the internet as a certain, fast, and painless suicide method. Additionally, it leaves only seldom externally visible marks or pathomorphological
findings on the body. If the plastic bag and other auxiliary means are
removed by another person, the forensic death investigation of cause and
manner of death may be very difficult. Therefore, the death scene
investigation and the inquiry ordered in the environment of the deceased
are very important.

NB This method is described, with illustrations, in the book ‘Final Exit’
which can be bought in hard copy, DVD or download at

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