A man is found dead inside a wine tank. The necropsy report suggests he died due to CO2 intoxication, meaning that accidentally fell into the tank and inhaled high concentrations of CO2 and died...

A man is found dead inside a wine tank. The necropsy report suggests he died due to CO2 intoxication, meaning that accidentally fell into the tank and inhaled high concentrations of CO2 and died within 1-3 minutes. The body was found saeted in the fermentation grapes in the bottow of the tank. The alcohol levels found in the blood were very high. Does the elevated plasma alcoholemia reflect his prior alcohol intake before falling into the tank or they could be due to skin absortion?

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jerichorayel | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Carbon dioxide (CO2) intoxication is medically termed as Hypercapnia where the amount of CO2 in the blood is outrageously higher than normal. The body's response to high CO2 is to expel through the lungs in order for oxygen (O2) to enter. However, in this case O2 levels are not sufficient which caused the death of the victim. If the necropsy showed that the victim died within 1-3 minutes, he must be staying in the tank unconsciously until his death. High level of alcohol is enough to make a person unconscious. Alcohol absorption through skin is possible but is not sufficient enough to cause unconsciousness in short span of time. 

Assessment:

The victim died of CO2 intoxication after he fell into the wine tank. If he is conscious enough, he could get out of the tank immediately. This only means that the man is drunk and unable to walk normally before he fell into the tank. Unconsciously, the man was not able to get outside the tank that causes his death. 

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