Death blow?

Can a person die from a single blow of no great power to a particular part of the body?

Something like a sharp blow over the chest that causes the heart’s rhythm to fail? (There must be a physiologist or cardiologist who here who knows what I am mean.)

Could a person die so quickly there would be little or no evidence in a less than excellent autopsy?

Writing a mystery story?

I don’t know if this is “no great power” but children have been killed by baseballs to the chest such that the timing knocks out the heart’s rhythm

. I don’t know if this is detectable in an autopsy, nor how long you survive after the blow.

Hmmm. That is what I am looking for, but I was hoping for something a 77 year old women could do.

as ferdie pacheco described being knocked out by an uppercut to the jaw:

“the upward shock compresses the brain at the bottom of the skull. the brain then jolts upwards and compresses at the top of the skull. that compression knocks out the boxer.”

the way he described it, you have an equal chance of snuffing it.

Not reliably, no (outisde dodgy ninja movies and comic-books). These weird things can happen by chance, though.

You can’t learn to tap someone on the chest and automatically kill them.

That would have worked about 20 years ago, when 77 year old women probably grew up kneading bread, but a women that age now would have been born in '34, and by the time she was old enough to knead bread, her mom would have been riveting planes together and too tired at the end of her shift to bake bread …

More importantly, I think the damage to brain would be easily detected - unlike the undeveloped bruising with instant death after a blow to the heart, that, unfortunately, might also take more power than our non-bread kneading grandmother.

The master speaks.

So without superhuman timing, not really.

I’m not looking for a learnable skill, just a blow that could result in death but escape cursory examination, that requires little force. It sounds like what I was thinking about requires too much force.

(As far as I can tell from a reference that uses speed rather than mass or acceleration … hmmph, some people’s experts.)

I’m a martial artist, not a doctor, but what you are referring to is commotio cordis. You can’t count on it happening every single time; in fact, it’s fairly rare.

The most dangerous blow would be a sharp strike directly over the trachea. If the trachea collapses, the person can asphyxiate because the airway is obstructed.

You can also have the situation where a person is knocked out or stunned, falls, hit his head and dies from complications from a skull fracture. A good kick to the ribs can fracture ribs badly enough to penetrate the lungs and other gooshy bits and the person can conceivably die from internal bleeding.

So, according to wiki, 50 joules is the minimum force required, but a hockey puck is only roughly three times that. An elbow neatly concentrates the power applied into a small area, … posit an early childhood with lots of shoulder/upper chest/upper arm muscular development - hoeing, raking, kneading bread, …

Could a 77 year old women stop a person’s heart with one lucky blow in fairly close quarters?

Sure, anything can happen, why don’t you let her have something holding in the hand, like a cane, an astray or dentures…:smiley:

Nitpick: joules are a measure of energy, not force. The force (measured in pounds or Newtons) applied to the chest will be a consequence of the projectile’s energy content and the distance over which it is decelerated to a stop.

I’m not writing a mystery or planning a murder; I’m just wondering if something a rape victim did might have resulted in the rapist’s death. The ‘Karma Bites’ thread.

I vaguely remembered commotio cordis (though we did not use that term) from physiology.

That is why no-one will trust me to land a rover on Mars; I might screw up the units and crash it.

You could probably make it more realistic than an accidental dim mak death blow. With some extremely, extremely wild luck, she could land a wild blow with all of her weight on her hand or forearm perfectly across his neck and knock him out with a brachial slap, and he could hit his occipit on the concrete and die of a brain bleed.

Ah. Almost certainly not, no. If it were that easy we’d have boxers, football players, Judo competitors, Tae Kwon Do competitors, and any other number of contact sports enthusiasts who regularly hit each other as hard as they can dropping dead on a fairly regular basis.

A blow across the neck affecting the carotid sinus leading to carotid sinus reflex might conceivably lead to vagal inhibition of the heart and death. Anecdotally this has occured after a playful blow across the neck with a wet towel.

Thank you, I missed your post.

Any idea if the tissue damage would be difficult to notice during an autopsy?

if the question is whether or not a 77-year old can deliver a killing blow to the chest, the answer is very likely yes. but you can imagine the rigors and discipline one needs to maintian at that age to be able to do it.

Well, I am referring to a 77 year old woman in the process of being raped - granted, she was a Texan, but I still think a particularly vulnerable spot would need to be hit.

i see. any (no, most) cops will tell you that while a guy is raping you, never resist. you’re close to being dead if you try.

Really? In my experience most will tell you that if someone wants to kill you, they will; you might as well make it difficult and get as much forensic evidence as possible. YMMV.