International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 122, Issue 4, pp 327–331

Postmortem “delivery” in a pregnant fire victim

Authors

  • Benedikt Vennemann
    • Institute of Legal MedicineUniversity Hospital Freiburg
  • Michael Bohnert
    • Institute of Legal MedicineUniversity Hospital Freiburg
    • Institute of Legal MedicineUniversity Hospital Freiburg
  • Markus Große Perdekamp
    • Institute of Legal MedicineUniversity Hospital Freiburg
Case Report

DOI: 10.1007/s00414-008-0234-6

Cite this article as:
Vennemann, B., Bohnert, M., Pollak, S. et al. Int J Legal Med (2008) 122: 327. doi:10.1007/s00414-008-0234-6

Abstract

A 23-year-old woman traveling in the front passenger seat of a car was killed in a traffic accident involving two rear-end collisions. After the second rear-end collision, the car caught fire. While the driver could be rescued, the pregnant passenger remained inside the car. After the fire had been extinguished, a charred body was found in a pugilistic attitude with an exposed abdominal cavity and a ruptured anterior wall of the gravid uterus. Between the woman’s legs, an almost unburned fetus was found with body measurements corresponding to a gestational age of 28 weeks. The placenta had remained inside the uterine cavity and was still connected with the fetus via the umbilical cord. In conclusion, the rupture of the pregnant uterus with expulsion of the fetus had to be considered a secondary event due to the initial heating and subsequent shrinking of the uterine wall.

Keywords

Rear-end collisionCar fireCharred bodyUterus ruptureHeatPostmortem “delivery”

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008