Journal Article

Investigation of a Fatality Due to Diesel Fuel No. 2 Ingestion

María A. Martínez and Salomé Ballesteros

in Journal of Analytical Toxicology

Volume 30, issue 8, pages 624-634
Published in print October 2006 | ISSN: 0146-4760
Published online October 2006 | e-ISSN: 1945-2403 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jat/30.8.624
Investigation of a Fatality Due to Diesel Fuel No. 2 Ingestion

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This paper presents a simple, rapid, reliable, and validated analytical method suited for forensic examination of diesel fuel No. 2 in biological specimens. The proposed methodology has been applied to the investigation of a forensic case with diesel fuel No. 2 ingestion. Case history and pathological and toxicological findings are described here to illustrate the toxicity of this complex hydrocarbon mixture. The toxicological significance and the possible mechanisms leading to death are also discussed. The toxicological initial screening and quantitation were performed by means of gas chromatography with flame-ionization detection and confirmation was performed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry in total ion chromatogram mode. n-Tetradecane peak was selected to estimate diesel fuel No. 2 in all biological samples. Diesel fuel No. 2 analytical methodology was validated at five concentration levels from 5 to 400 mg/L. The method provided extraction recoveries between 89.0% and 97.9%. The limit of detection was 1 mg/L and the limit of quantitation was 5 mg/L. The linearity of the blood calibration curves was excellent with r2 values of > 0.999. Intraday and interday precisions had a coefficient of variation < 10.9% in all cases. The case reports the suicide of a 64-year-old female by diesel fuel No. 2 ingestion. Heart blood concentration was 9.1 mg/L, and concentration in the abdominal contents was 3500 mg/L (total amount 8.2 mL). Pathological findings were unusual and consisted of gastric and intestinal lesions reminiscent of effects caused by ingestion of a corrosive agent and the presence of a dark-brownish liquid with strong odor to hydrocarbons. The cause of death was attributed to intoxication with diesel fuel No. 2. The manner of death, according to the case history provided by the medical examiner, was considered suicide. Because there are no other similar references regarding analytical and toxicological data, this article provides with evidence about toxic concentrations and is a useful adjunct to the postmortem toxicological interpretation of fatalities if the decedent has been involved in diesel fuel No. 2 use.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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