<- Home <- Arhive <- Vol. 21, Issue 2, June 2013

Rom J Leg Med21(2)115-118(2013)
© Romanian Society of Legal Medicine

Suicidal poisoning by ingestion of Taxus Baccata leaves. Case report and literature review

D. Perju-Dumbrava, S. Morar, O. Chiroban, E. Lechintan, A. Cioca

Abstract: A 43-year-old man was found unconscious at his home by the family members. He was transported to the local hospital where there was suspected the diagnosis of voluntary intoxication due to an unknown plant, possible Taxus baccata. He died 4 hours post admission and a medico-legal autopsy was performed, followed by histological and forensic toxicology analysis. Furthermore a botanical investigation was applied. Autopsy revealed fragments of greenish needle-like leaves in the stomach. Plant botanical investigation indicated the presence of Taxus baccata, also known as yew. The histological findings showed unspecific modifications of the internal organs, in concordance with the literature. No signs of violence could be found on the external exam or any relevant concentrations of alcohol, narcotic drugs and pharmaceuticals in the postmortem screening. Therefore, taking into account the history of the case, the clinical, paraclinical data, the autopsy findings and the ancillary examinations, the death was considered violent due to acute intoxication with Taxus baccata, this being a unique case in the activity of our Institute of Legal Medicine.
Keywords: fatal poisoning, Taxus baccata, alkaloids, suicide.

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