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Old 01-31-2017, 12:44 AM
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Any forensic pathologists here?


Hi! I wasn't sure where to put this. I'm wondering if there are any forensic pathologists here because I have some questions.
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Old 01-31-2017, 02:48 AM
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Why not just ask your questions, rather than determining who may answer them?
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Old 01-31-2017, 05:45 AM
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Perchance, do your questions have any connection to your username?
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Old 01-31-2017, 06:38 AM
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We did have a pathologist on the boards a few years ago. I can't recall if she was a forensic pathologist or not, but I don't believe she is active anymore.
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Old 01-31-2017, 07:52 AM
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Jackmannii is a pathologist. Not sure if he's forensic or not.
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Old 01-31-2017, 07:56 AM
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We did have a pathologist on the boards a few years ago. I can't recall if she was a forensic pathologist or not, but I don't believe she is active anymore.
She was, and she isn't.

We still have at least one pathologist on the Dope (cough) but since his last forensic autopsy was circa 1993, he may not be the best source of info on exotic untraceable poisons.
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Old 01-31-2017, 08:55 AM
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We still have at least one pathologist on the Dope (cough)


Sounds like you have a nasty cough there, need me to call you in a Z-pak?
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Old 01-31-2017, 09:04 AM
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As with most fields, the forensic pathologistís salary varies according to experience, location, employer, and specialization. Itís important to remember that salaries for hospital-based pathologists tend to be higher than those for medicolegal forensic pathologists who work in facilities such as a coronerís or medical examinerís office. This may be one factor contributing to the current shortage of forensic pathologists.
Interesting non-sequitur. Spammer or escapee from subreddit simulator? Inquiring minds want to know!
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Old 01-31-2017, 09:56 AM
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Hi! I wasn't sure where to put this. I'm wondering if there are any forensic pathologists here because I have some questions.
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Perchance, do your questions have any connection to your username?
I had the misfortune to sorta-participate in the fire/EMS response to one such accident.

It took zero expertise to see why the guy died. Measured from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet was about 20 yards. He died of excess tallness.
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Old 01-31-2017, 10:01 AM
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Need answer fast?
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Old 01-31-2017, 10:03 AM
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I had the misfortune to sorta-participate in the fire/EMS response to one such accident.

It took zero expertise to see why the guy died. Measured from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet was about 20 yards. He died of excess tallness.
Was this the Procrustes residence?

Sorry, that was a stretch.
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Old 01-31-2017, 01:02 PM
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I have worked with them still have some contacts.
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Old 01-31-2017, 02:58 PM
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I've seen many on TV.

I rotated through for a month in Med school.

TV looks better. They are way smarter and better looking.
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Old 01-31-2017, 11:30 PM
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Hi! I wasn't sure where to put this. I'm wondering if there are any forensic pathologists here because I have some questions.
I am a forensic pathologist. Fire away.
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Old 01-31-2017, 11:31 PM
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Was this the Procrustes residence?

Sorry, that was a stretch.
That was terrible, and I loved it.

Well played.
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Old 02-01-2017, 10:39 AM
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I am a forensic pathologist. Fire away.
Are you a doctor?
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Old 02-01-2017, 11:04 AM
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It took zero expertise to see why the guy died. Measured from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet was about 20 yards. He died of excess tallness.
So, quite the opposite of that Frenchman nobleman who, facing a Revolutionary trial led by a prosecutor who'd mistakenly added a couple syllables to his name, testily replied "Citizen, I'm here to be shortened, not lengthened".

As the apocryphal anecdote goes, that witticism set him free. In French legalese the verb for "setting an accused free" is "ťlargir", literally "to widen". Reportedly, the judge couldn't resist dropping his own bon mot.
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Old 02-01-2017, 11:13 AM
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Are you a doctor?
Holding an MD or DO degree is one of the requirements for becoming a pathologist, so I suspect that will be a "yes".
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Old 02-01-2017, 12:28 PM
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Holding an MD or DO degree is one of the requirements for becoming a pathologist, so I suspect that will be a "yes".
But not necessarily required to be a coroner.
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Old 02-01-2017, 12:34 PM
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Coroners supervise examinations on deceased individuals to determine the cause of death. Their jobs may include visiting death scenes at all hours, filling out death certificates and speaking with family members of the deceased. The education requirements to become a coroner vary by state, but a bachelor's degree is usually the minimum requirement. In some states, coroners must be licensed medical doctors. In many jurisdictions, coroners are appointed or hired by the government, but in some areas coroners are elected.
http://study.com/articles/Coroner_Jo...a_Coroner.html
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Old 02-01-2017, 12:34 PM
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But not necessarily required to be a coroner.
Was someone here looking for a coroner?
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Old 02-01-2017, 01:29 PM
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Don't think they're looking for anything. They haven't been back, AFAICT. A forensic pathologist posted, no specific questions came forth.

Just a general observation on my part, not widely known, I think. Many people do confuse coroners and medical examiners. Which is only natural, as in many locales, coroners are required to be ME's.
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Old 02-01-2017, 11:47 PM
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Holding an MD or DO degree is one of the requirements for becoming a pathologist, so I suspect that will be a "yes".
The answer indeed is yes.

A forensic pathologist is a physician who has specialized in pathology and subspecialized in forensic pathology. "Medical examiner" is a job title that can be appropriated by different occupations, anything that has to do with "examining" medical-type things, such as for example an insurance adjuster who might look into medical claims. The most appropriate, IMHO, appropriator of that title is by a forensic pathologist who is employed in a medical examiner office that investigates deaths that occur in that office's jurisdiction.

A coroner is (in all but rare cases) a nonphysician public official who investigates deaths that occur in the coroner office's jurisdiction. The qualifications to be a coroner are quite minimal compared to the qualifications to be a physician medical examiner.

Population-wise, about half of the US is served by medical examiners, and about half by coroners.

Anywho, if the OP (or anyone else) still has some questions, I'd be happy to address them.
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:32 AM
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I am a forensic pathologist. Fire away.
Nice username/occupation combo.
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Old 02-02-2017, 10:14 AM
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The answer indeed is yes.

A forensic pathologist is a physician who has specialized in pathology and subspecialized in forensic pathology. "Medical examiner" is a job title that can be appropriated by different occupations, anything that has to do with "examining" medical-type things, such as for example an insurance adjuster who might look into medical claims. The most appropriate, IMHO, appropriator of that title is by a forensic pathologist who is employed in a medical examiner office that investigates deaths that occur in that office's jurisdiction.

A coroner is (in all but rare cases) a nonphysician public official who investigates deaths that occur in the coroner office's jurisdiction. The qualifications to be a coroner are quite minimal compared to the qualifications to be a physician medical examiner.

Population-wise, about half of the US is served by medical examiners, and about half by coroners.

Anywho, if the OP (or anyone else) still has some questions, I'd be happy to address them.
What's up doc?
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Old 02-02-2017, 10:33 AM
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Nice username/occupation combo.
Care to elaborate for us dense folks?
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Old 02-02-2017, 10:53 AM
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Care to elaborate for us dense folks?
86 is slang for getting rid of something
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Old 02-02-2017, 10:54 AM
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I am a forensic pathologist. Fire away.
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Nice username/occupation combo.
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Care to elaborate for us dense folks?
Eighty-six is diner slang for being all out of something or eliminating it from the menu (among other somewhat related meanings).
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Old 02-02-2017, 11:11 AM
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Eighty-six is diner slang for being all out of something or eliminating it from the menu (among other somewhat related meanings).
The diner slang etymology is suspect. I always thought it was just rhyming slang for "nix."

There was also the legend that the "abortion pill" RU-486 was a bit of a pun on "are you for eighty-six?" or "Are you for killing/nixing.")

(And I assumed eighty-six's screen name was a reference to his job.)

Last edited by pulykamell; 02-02-2017 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 02-02-2017, 11:16 AM
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Still unresolved: what question(s) the OP needed a forensic pathologist to answer.

Meantime, I have one.

On the way to work this morning I was listening to an old Dragnet episode on the classic radio satellite channel. I arrived and had to turn off the radio at a critical point in the program, where Jack Webb and his sidekick had just learned that the victim of a purportedly natural death had "a stomach full of poison" which the M.E. (or what passed for one in those days) found at autopsy.

Earlier, the man's son reported to the detectives that before keeling over and hitting his head on the floor, Daddy mentioned that the milk he'd just drunk tasted "bitter".

So now I'm wondering what poison tastes bitter, kills incredibly fast and can "fill" a stomach to the extent that it's detectable when you open the stomach. Cyanide is fast, but it's usually described as having an acrid taste and produce a burning sensation (not that I'm eager to test the veracity of this).

*In this episode, Mama reportedly had checked with the insurance agent a few days before Daddy croaked, asking about increasing his life insurance coverage. Probably a coincidence.
**I'm pretty sure that even those people who can smell cyanide are not capable of distinguishing dose by odor.

Last edited by Jackmannii; 02-02-2017 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 02-02-2017, 11:25 AM
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What's up doc?
Be careful with your punctuation or lack of it. The question takes on a different meaning with & without a critical comma.

Bugs Bunny: "What's up, doc?"

Proctologist: "What's up doc?"
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Old 02-02-2017, 11:34 AM
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Need answer fast?
Apparently not.

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Don't think they're looking for anything. They haven't been back, AFAICT. A forensic pathologist posted, no specific questions came forth.
Given the OP's posting track record, we may have to wait a while. Two posts in over 2 years.
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Old 02-02-2017, 11:51 AM
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Still unresolved: what question(s) the OP needed a forensic pathologist to answer.

Meantime, I have one.

On the way to work this morning I was listening to an old Dragnet episode on the classic radio satellite channel. I arrived and had to turn off the radio at a critical point in the program, where Jack Webb and his sidekick had just learned that the victim of a purportedly natural death had "a stomach full of poison" which the M.E. (or what passed for one in those days) found at autopsy.

Earlier, the man's son reported to the detectives that before keeling over and hitting his head on the floor, Daddy mentioned that the milk he'd just drunk tasted "bitter".

So now I'm wondering what poison tastes bitter, kills incredibly fast and can "fill" a stomach to the extent that it's detectable when you open the stomach. Cyanide is fast, but it's usually described as having an acrid taste and produce a burning sensation (not that I'm eager to test the veracity of this).

*In this episode, Mama reportedly had checked with the insurance agent a few days before Daddy croaked, asking about increasing his life insurance coverage. Probably a coincidence.
**I'm pretty sure that even those people who can smell cyanide are not capable of distinguishing dose by odor.
I'll guess arsenic.

ETA: not that arsenic necessarily has those properties in real life, but that it does in Hollywood.

Last edited by Defensive Indifference; 02-02-2017 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 02-02-2017, 11:59 AM
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Since there are no specific questions in the OP, let's move this to IMHO.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator
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Old 02-02-2017, 12:44 PM
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Hi! I wasn't sure where to put this. I'm wondering if there are any forensic pathologists here because I have some questions.
If this is an emergency, please hang up and dial 911.
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Old 02-02-2017, 12:50 PM
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I'll guess arsenic.

ETA: not that arsenic necessarily has those properties in real life, but that it does in Hollywood.
I have read that some arsenic compounds can make food have a garlicky taste and smell. It could be described as bitter if one was not used to garlicky tastes.
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Old 02-02-2017, 01:01 PM
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I have read that some arsenic compounds can make food have a garlicky taste and smell. It could be described as bitter if one was not used to garlicky tastes.
Arsenic does not produce (near) instantaneous death.

Another candidate (strychnine) has a bitter taste, but from what I've read it doesn't kill quite that fast (there are unpleasant intervening signs and symptoms).

A pity Sgt. Friday is not a Doper, or he could tell us how the case turned out.
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Old 02-02-2017, 01:29 PM
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Maybe it was luminous toxin.
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Old 02-02-2017, 02:46 PM
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Still unresolved: what question(s) the OP needed a forensic pathologist to answer.

Meantime, I have one.

On the way to work this morning I was listening to an old Dragnet episode on the classic radio satellite channel. I arrived and had to turn off the radio at a critical point in the program, where Jack Webb and his sidekick had just learned that the victim of a purportedly natural death had "a stomach full of poison" which the M.E. (or what passed for one in those days) found at autopsy.

Earlier, the man's son reported to the detectives that before keeling over and hitting his head on the floor, Daddy mentioned that the milk he'd just drunk tasted "bitter".

So now I'm wondering what poison tastes bitter, kills incredibly fast and can "fill" a stomach to the extent that it's detectable when you open the stomach. Cyanide is fast, but it's usually described as having an acrid taste and produce a burning sensation (not that I'm eager to test the veracity of this).

*In this episode, Mama reportedly had checked with the insurance agent a few days before Daddy croaked, asking about increasing his life insurance coverage. Probably a coincidence.
**I'm pretty sure that even those people who can smell cyanide are not capable of distinguishing dose by odor.
Could you provide more details about the episode? I can't find anything about an episode where a man is killed by poison. There is one where an elderly couple is poisoned but not just one man that I can find.
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Old 02-02-2017, 04:34 PM
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Could you provide more details about the episode? I can't find anything about an episode where a man is killed by poison. There is one where an elderly couple is poisoned but not just one man that I can find.
It was one of the 1952-59 radio episodes (since Friday's partner was Frank Smith). When I tuned in, the two intrepid detectives were interviewing the deceased man's wife and later his venomous mother-in-law who dismisses him as a worthless drunk. As they're leaving the 9-year-old son calls them from a window to tell them about the "bitter" milk.

I see that at least 298 episodes of the series are available to listen to online. But since every single one from the time period in question seems to be titled "The Big _" (The Big Smoke, The Big Strip, The Big Mask, The Big Ham, The Big Dig etc. etc.), there's little clue as to which is the one I heard, and I'm not about to go through them all to find out the denouement.
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Old 02-02-2017, 04:48 PM
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So my good doctors. Is too-many-birthdays always fatal?
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:05 PM
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TMB is 100% fatal.
IANAD
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:23 PM
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It's also a tautology because one less birthday wasn't. Ditto one less blow to the head, one less bout of pneumonia. Whatever does finally get you, one less of it wouldn't. At least not right away.

If you can figure out what that one-less quantity and item is, that's your cue to party like there's no tomorrow. Because for a suitably small number of tomorrows, you'll be right.
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:46 PM
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It was one of the 1952-59 radio episodes (since Friday's partner was Frank Smith). When I tuned in, the two intrepid detectives were interviewing the deceased man's wife and later his venomous mother-in-law who dismisses him as a worthless drunk. As they're leaving the 9-year-old son calls them from a window to tell them about the "bitter" milk.

I see that at least 298 episodes of the series are available to listen to online. But since every single one from the time period in question seems to be titled "The Big _" (The Big Smoke, The Big Strip, The Big Mask, The Big Ham, The Big Dig etc. etc.), there's little clue as to which is the one I heard, and I'm not about to go through them all to find out the denouement.
It's "The Big Ray", 9/4/52, Episode 167. You can hear it here. As near as I can tell, they never identify what the poison was, just refer to it as "the poison".
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Old 02-02-2017, 09:23 PM
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Still unresolved: what question(s) the OP needed a forensic pathologist to answer.

Meantime, I have one.

On the way to work this morning I was listening to an old Dragnet episode on the classic radio satellite channel. I arrived and had to turn off the radio at a critical point in the program, where Jack Webb and his sidekick had just learned that the victim of a purportedly natural death had "a stomach full of poison" which the M.E. (or what passed for one in those days) found at autopsy.

Earlier, the man's son reported to the detectives that before keeling over and hitting his head on the floor, Daddy mentioned that the milk he'd just drunk tasted "bitter".

So now I'm wondering what poison tastes bitter, kills incredibly fast and can "fill" a stomach to the extent that it's detectable when you open the stomach. Cyanide is fast, but it's usually described as having an acrid taste and produce a burning sensation (not that I'm eager to test the veracity of this).
Maybe it was almond milk...
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Old 02-02-2017, 09:55 PM
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Cyanide is said to smell like "bitter almonds". One of those weird Med school factoids that is useless since few people know what bitter almonds actually smell like.
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Old 02-03-2017, 08:00 AM
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Still unresolved: what question(s) the OP needed a forensic pathologist to answer.

Meantime, I have one.

On the way to work this morning I was listening to an old Dragnet episode on the classic radio satellite channel. I arrived and had to turn off the radio at a critical point in the program, where Jack Webb and his sidekick had just learned that the victim of a purportedly natural death had "a stomach full of poison" which the M.E. (or what passed for one in those days) found at autopsy.

Earlier, the man's son reported to the detectives that before keeling over and hitting his head on the floor, Daddy mentioned that the milk he'd just drunk tasted "bitter".

So now I'm wondering what poison tastes bitter, kills incredibly fast and can "fill" a stomach to the extent that it's detectable when you open the stomach. Cyanide is fast, but it's usually described as having an acrid taste and produce a burning sensation (not that I'm eager to test the veracity of this).

*In this episode, Mama reportedly had checked with the insurance agent a few days before Daddy croaked, asking about increasing his life insurance coverage. Probably a coincidence.
**I'm pretty sure that even those people who can smell cyanide are not capable of distinguishing dose by odor.
I'd wager it was cyanide.It is very fast acting and is said to have a bitter taste. As far as "bellyful", well a little goes a long way. I've seen a few cases of cyanide poisoning. The ones I can remember off the top of my head were suicides by people who had some formal background in chemistry. One was a grad student. They used reagent grade cyanide they got their labs.

Cyanide is said to have a "bitter almond" odor. It is also said that the ability to smell it is a genetic trait and only a minority of people can so detect it. I do not think I am one of those people, because I didn't smell anything out of the ordinary (for an autopsy, that is) while I did those cases. Then again, I'm not sure what "bitter almonds" are supposed to smell like.

When I did my training, there was one pathologist who had a little dispenser from which she'd pull a small strip of paper and wave it over the stomach of a decedent, right after she open it on the autopsy table. I wondered what she was doing, and she didn't offer an explanation until I asked. She then said the paper was a colorimetric indicator that would detect cyanide. You see, she was also a nonsmeller. I then started to wonder if I had missed a whole lot of cyanide poisonings.

But turns out cyanide shows up on standard toxicology testing, at least that which we get where I work now. Sometimes we see small amounts of it in fire deaths, as the burning of some plastics generates cyanide, and it comes in with the smoke people inhale. It's also generated in very small amounts by decomposition. In fact, we have a small hand held cyanide detector (not a strip of paper, but a meter that beeps and gives you a digital ppm readout). It is sensitive enough to pick up the tiny bit from decomp.

As far as 86, I can't speak to the etymological origin, but the origin in my lexicon is indeed from the food service industry. I cut my teeth (as well as many fingers) as a working lad in the kitchens of restaurants.
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Old 02-03-2017, 08:42 AM
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Cyanide is said to smell like "bitter almonds". One of those weird Med school factoids that is useless since few people know what bitter almonds actually smell like.
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Originally Posted by eightysix View Post
...
Cyanide is said to have a "bitter almond" odor. It is also said that the ability to smell it is a genetic trait and only a minority of people can so detect it. I do not think I am one of those people, because I didn't smell anything out of the ordinary (for an autopsy, that is) while I did those cases. Then again, I'm not sure what "bitter almonds" are supposed to smell like.
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The "smells like bitter almonds" factoid is repeated ad nauseum in DoD training on detecting and countering chemical weapons. But nobody knows what they smell like. Useless factoid indeed.

Wiki (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almond...bitter_almonds) tells us they're a related cultivar to the "sweet" almonds we eat. And that some shady suppliers have some bitter ones mixed in their crop.
  #49  
Old 02-03-2017, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackmannii View Post
It was one of the 1952-59 radio episodes (since Friday's partner was Frank Smith). When I tuned in, the two intrepid detectives were interviewing the deceased man's wife and later his venomous mother-in-law who dismisses him as a worthless drunk. As they're leaving the 9-year-old son calls them from a window to tell them about the "bitter" milk.

I see that at least 298 episodes of the series are available to listen to online. But since every single one from the time period in question seems to be titled "The Big _" (The Big Smoke, The Big Strip, The Big Mask, The Big Ham, The Big Dig etc. etc.), there's little clue as to which is the one I heard, and I'm not about to go through them all to find out the denouement.
I listened to it and it is always just referred to as the poison. The detectives eventually find the druggist who sold it to her and she admits to doing it. She claims to have only been trying to make him sick and not kill him. It turns out that the wife was a shrew and the husband was going to a bar to avoid her. She thought he was cheating on her at the bar and claimed she wanted to make him sick so he would have to stay home with his family. Despite her unpleasant attitude the mother in law was determined not to have known about the poison.
Arsenic seems like it would have taken too long to work. Strychnine is more likely. It has a bitter taste, kills quickly, and was available in drugstores around the time of the episode.
  #50  
Old 02-03-2017, 01:02 PM
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While we're waiting for the real question to get posed, we should ask......

Robert David Hall or Jack Klugman?
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