Forensics - A Case Scenario : Various Problems with Decomposed Bodies
Toxicologists and pathologists should be careful interpreting Blood Alcohol Concentrations because 'putrefying bodies' can generate alcohol production, suggesting the presents of alcohol is not always due to antemortem ingestion. Endogenous alcohol is determined by taking multiple fluid samples (blood, urine, bile, vitreous) where possible, endogenous alcohol should be present "only in one body fluid" (Gilliland & Bost, 1993). Alcohol first enters the "blood before it is distributed to other fluids" (Gilliland & Bost, 1993), so if it is only found in the blood further samples should be examined to rule out antemortem consumption. Alcohol levels can be as high as 0.16g/100ml in endogenous alcohol production, in this case the deceased was found to have a B.A.C. of 0.1g/100ml. The time of death needs to be considered as endogenous alcohol production can begin "as early as 12 h after death" (Hadley & Smith, 2003) and the presents of alcohol, after this time, may be due to putrefication rather than ingestion.