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CharacterInWhite
03-24-2012, 10:02 PM
Should be a quickie for any well versed mystery novelist. Or a coroner, obviously:

I have a character (several, actually) who die from a rigged 'accident.' They're positioned in one of those ski-dollys that takes you up the mountain, and an improvised explosive sends them plummeting to their deaths.

I realise the coroner talk would list exactly how they died from the fall. But what are some of the actual phrases a coroner would use, especially if the damage to the body is extensive and it's somewhat ambiguous as to what precisely ended their life?

On a somewhat related note, what language would a coroner use to describe a tattoo located on the upper back (assuming they use something more specific than "upper back").

ironmikezero
03-24-2012, 10:26 PM
It'll vary somewhat by jurisdiction but in generic terms it would typically be severe impact trauma (followed by a specific list of damage/injuries).

Tattoos are typically photographed and described in considerable detail (measurements, colors, etc.). Placement would likely be described as dorsal/posterior epidermis of the back in relation to the skeletal system (directly over the upper half of the right scapula, or across the lower lumbar region in line with the pelvis, etc.).

Coroners need not be medical examiners (dependent upon jurisdiction) so the terminology used is not always in articulate medical jargon. It'll depend upon what you feel your story needs.

GeorgeK
03-25-2012, 04:30 PM
multiple blunt force trauma
rapid decelleration injuries

jclarkdawe
03-25-2012, 06:47 PM
From a high speed auto wreck: "Cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma, resulting from rapid deceleration injuries, causing traumatic blood loss exceeding class IV (hemorrhage), ruptured (various organs listed), traumatic amputation of left arm distal to the shoulder, and crushing-type injuries to the skull." (I'm doing this without going back and finding the autopsy report. Victim was ejected through the windshield of a car doing in excess of 80 mph and smashed into a tree.)

And of the injuries listed after cause, any of them could have resulted in death, collectively there was no issue. Death was virtually instantaneous. This would be somewhat similar to the injuries from a long fall, with the crushing injuries being more located in whatever hits first. You might also get puncture wounds.

An autopsy for a falling victim will not help your desire for lunch.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

CharacterInWhite
03-25-2012, 10:54 PM
From a high speed auto wreck: "Cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma, resulting from rapid deceleration injuries, causing traumatic blood loss exceeding class IV (hemorrhage), ruptured (various organs listed), traumatic amputation of left arm distal to the shoulder, and crushing-type injuries to the skull." (I'm doing this without going back and finding the autopsy report. Victim was ejected through the windshield of a car doing in excess of 80 mph and smashed into a tree.)

And of the injuries listed after cause, any of them could have resulted in death, collectively there was no issue. Death was virtually instantaneous. This would be somewhat similar to the injuries from a long fall, with the crushing injuries being more located in whatever hits first. You might also get puncture wounds.

An autopsy for a falling victim will not help your desire for lunch.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Perfect. Thank you very much! You're a font of ever-flowing wisdom. :D