Mariya Vandivort, Realtor in Champaign Urbana, Illinois

Coroner's Jury Duty: Case 3 and 4

In May 2005, I served on a Coroner's Jury. Details about the cases are given below and the main page describes more about the coroner's jury process.

Case 3:

The only witness was officiating coroner.

A 47 year old man died around 3am at Carle hospital from hepatic/liver failure due to extreme levels of Acetaminophen. He also had high levels of hydrocodone in his blood. In 1997, this man was in an automobile accident and according to relatives, he had chronic pain from it, which resulted in an addiction to pain killers. Reportedly, he was getting duplicate medications from 2 different hospitals so that he could have twice the quantity of drugs. It was also mentioned that he would take a dosage, fall asleep, and wake up forgetting that he had taken the first dose.

This man had been found 3 days before death in an unconscious state. In the ambulance he was given drugs to reduce the med levels in his blood, and when he got to the hospital his Acetaminophen rate was still in the high range (about 150). Razapam (razepam, restoril, temaz) bottles were found with 6 remaining pills. His prescription of 90 pills, which had probably been delivered by mail wasn't set to start until 2 days after he entered the hospital. Apparently Acetaminophen levels of 120 ng/ml for four hours can cause organ failure. The man had two daughters and had apparently never attempted suicide before.

We retired to our deliberation room and determined that it might be suicide, but we didn't have any indication that it actually was.

Manner of death: ACCIDENT

Case 4:

This case had two witnesses: the responding officer and the officiating coroner.

A 77 year old man was pronounced dead due to thermal effects from an automobile fire. The man had a significant history of heart problems. He had previously had a quintuple bypass and the autopsy revealed blocked arteries. In the past, he had called an ambulance and the fire department, etc showed up and made a real scene. He didn't like this and would often drive himself to the hospital after that. His car went approximately a quarter mile off the road and then jumped across a large ditch. The rural fire department was called out due to a grass fire, and, upon arrival, discovered the car.

We retired to our deliberation room and little discussion was needed.

Manner of death: ACCIDENT

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