Hoarding is defined as the acquisition of, and failure to discard, possessions of little use or value to others, usually associated with a significant degree of clutter in the individual’s home. We describe a case of a woman who died from a combined traumatic and confined space asphyxia, after being trapped under some of the objects amassed in her apartment. The event was considered to be accidental; by taking into account the information gathered during assessment of the scene, we believe that the accident took place while entering or exiting the apartment. It appears that the woman, who was trying to open or close the door, could have been using her leg to keep the objects piled behind the door from falling. Unfortunately the pile of hoarded objects collapsed and the woman was fatally trapped underneath them. The age and strength of the woman played an important role in the fatal incident, she was too old and weak to remove the items that had collapsed over her body. The scarcity of space between the collapsed objects and the woman, as well as the absence of external or internal signs of violent asphyxiation, or other causes of death, allowed us to establish that the death resulted from a combined mechanism of both the traumatic and the confined space asphyxiation.
Asphyxia Clutter Hoarding disorder Law Psychiatric disease Public health
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