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Thread: Laudanum overdose

  1. #1
    down the rabbit hole of research... CWatts's Avatar
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    Laudanum overdose

    Yet another Victorian medical question. I'm finding a lot of info about modern opiate overdoses, with it causing fatal respiratory suppression esp. when laced with fentanyl. Not sure how similar it would be with an oral tincture of laudanum, seems it was usually around 10% opium and 50% or more alcohol.

    Basically what I need to have happen is a healthy young adult overdoses to be unconscious. Slow breathing and heartbeat, cool skin turning blueish, such that to a casual observer they would appear dead. This is a battlefield situation with numerous dead bodies and not a lot of medical attention. Is it at all plausible that the victim could stay out long enough to be loaded onto a wagon full of corpses and then come to? Looks like the fatal dosage for a non-addict was 100-150 ml. My character drank the laudanum in a suicide attempt, I'm picturing from a small vial that was not full. I want to avoid death obviously and also the brain damage that comes from oxygen deprivation.

  2. #2
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    I don't know much about laudanum, but you can always toy with outside factors to make the survival more believable. Metabolism, recent ingestion of cream heavy foods, ingestion of charcoal, etc.

  3. #3
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
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    I gotta ask; did you Google for the phrase history of laudenum?

  4. #4
    down the rabbit hole of research... CWatts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AW Admin View Post
    I gotta ask; did you Google for the phrase history of laudenum?
    Yes, of course. The symptoms appear plausible, overdoses were common and a frequent method of suicide.

  5. #5
    Resist. Love. Go outside. Marlys's Avatar
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    Google Books is a great resource. Set result for 19th century and search laudanum death and/or laudanum coma. There are wonderful Victorian medical journals with discussion of real-life cases of suicides and attempted suicides--you'll find amounts ingested, symptoms, duration of coma, and treatment of patients found in laudanum comas.

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