Asphyxia

While asphyxia is often thought to be an indication of strangulation, it can be produced in multiple ways. Asphyxia occurs when the free flow of oxygenated air is cut of thus preventing it from reaching the brain or other parts of the body. Most commonly this is accomplished by a compression of upper air-ways such as in strangulation and hanging, occlusive blocking of the mouth and nose by smothering, penetrating trauma to the chest that can collapse the lungs, flooding of the lungs with fluid (drowning), and natural diseases such as tumors that press against the lungs.

Another form of asphyxia that appears in the forensic sciences is autoerotic asphyxia (AEA), which is characterized by self or partner-inflicted deprivation of oxygen (e.g., strangulation typically by the use of a ligature, or smothering with plastic) in order to heighten sexual arousal while masturbating or engaging in sexual intercourse. Physiologically, as the body reaches the near state of asphyxia, more endorphins are produced, which increases pleasure at orgasm. However, accidental death may also occur. Keeping in mind that such a death is indeed a tragedy; the highly trained pathologistís at The Forensic Panel maintain the utmost sensitivity and diligence while examining physiological clues that may differentiate between a crime and an accidental death by autoerotic asphyxia.

The Forensic Panelís peer-review ensures that the all medical evidence of the victim, as well as physical evidence with regard to the scene of the accident or crime goes through rigorous oversight. The peer-review process used by The Forensic Panel experts, dictates that all sources of available evidence are evaluated with the scientific scrutiny of multiple experts, resulting in expert determination that is both formidable and consistent with scientific standards.