VOLUME 1 OF DP LYLE’S Q&A SERIES
PRAISE FOR MURDER AND MAYHEM
It's three o'clock in the morning, you're hard at work on your mystery screenplay, and all that's missing is the essential medical clue to solve the murder... who ya gonna call? Dr. Doug Lyle is the go-to-guy for writers looking for the perfect piece of medical knowledge, filling the blanks that imagination alone simply can't. This isn't just a book of cool doctor stuff...though it certainly is that, too. Dr. Lyle understands story-telling, and the role research plays in character and the plot. If medical plot problems are what's ailing you, Dr. Lyle has the WRITE prescription--Lee Goldberg, Executive Producer, Diagnosis Murder, Martial Law, Author of My Gun Has Bullets, Beyond the Beyond, Writing For Television
Whenever I have a new Law & Order episode to write, the first person I call for help is Dr. Doug Lyle. He has an amazing ability to explain complex forensics in simple laypersons' terms. Also, as a novelist himself, he thinks like a writer and gives you exactly the information that a writer will need. This book is a terrific resource for crime writers---Matt Witten, executive story editor for Law & Order and author of the Jacob Burns mystery novels
Murder and Mayhem is more than a handy reference guide for writers. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys learning about the functions of the human body in an entertaining fashion. This book is at once wise, informative, funny, factually reliable, and accessible. I was fascinated to learn what makes the skin under punched eyes turn black and what it means to have the wind knocked out of you. And now, thanks to Doug Lyle, I have all the resources at my fingertips to write convincingly about more forms of murder and death than you can shake a severed cervical vertebrae at---Barbara Seranella, author of the Munch Mancini crime novels
Dr. Doug Lyle has an unerring ability to diagnose what it is writers need to know in answer to their questions about forensic medicine. With his help, crime fiction writers will be able to write more realistic scenes. His fascinating replies to questions writers have posed to him are precise and clearly stated, so that while he'll provide the medical terms you want, he'll also give the definitions you need. Within these pages, you'll alsomfind a number of common myths dispelled. His column has long been a favorite with the professional mystery writers in our chapter of Mystery Writers of America, and now you can benefit from them, too---Jan Burke, author of Bones, Flight, Hocus, Liar, Remember Me, Irene, and Goodnight, Irene
Table Of Contents
I. Doctors, Hospitals, Illnesses, and Injuries
A. Traumatic Injuries and Their Treatment
How Would Death Occur From Blunt Head Trauma?
Can My Heroine Survive a Ruptured Spleen?
Where Can My Hero Be Shot and Survive?
Can a Person with Broken Ribs Swim?
What is the Mechanism of Death in a Suicide By Hanging?
Wounds Would Result from an Attempted Suicide with a Gun
Placed Under the Chin?
Can a Traumatic Miscarriage Prevent Future Pregnancies?
What Are the Symptoms of a Concussion?
What Happens when You Get the “Wind Knocked Out of You”?
What Injuries Occur When Someone is Thrown Down a Stairway?
What Injuries Occur in a Fall onto Rocks?
What is the Likely Cause of Death in a Fall Down Stairs?
What Happens When Someone’s Nose is Broken?
How Long Will a “Black Eye” Persist?
the Spinal Cord Have to Be Injured to Cause
Could My Pregnant Character and Her Unborn Child Survive a Severe Concussion and Near Drowning?
Could Death From Bleeding Be Delayed For Several Days?
What Was the Technique for Limb Amputation in the 19th Century?
What Are the Physical Limitations of Someone With a Shoulder Dislocation?
What Are the Symptoms and Treatment of a “Sucking Chest Wound”?
B. Environmental Injuries and Their Treatment
What Happens When Someone Dies From Exposure?
What Happens When Someone Dies From Dehydration?
What is the Treatment for Dehydration?
How Long Can Someone Survive in a Freezer?
Does alcohol Intake Prevent Death From Freezing?
Could Someone Survive in a Roadway Tunnel Where a Forest Fire Raged at Both Ends?
What Happens When Someone Is Struck by Lightning?
Can a Person Stranded at Sea Survive by Drinking His Own Urine?
C. Doctors, Hospitals, and Paramedical Personnel
Can X-Ray Films be Copied?
How Do Doctors Handle Emergencies and Concussions?
How Do Hospitals Ration the Blood Supply in Major Natural Disasters?
What is Artificial Blood?
What Is Blood Doping and How does It work?
What is the Basic Procedure for Blood Donation?
What Medical Emergency That Required Quick Action Would Likely Occur in a Gun Shot Victim in a Hospital ICU?
What Information Would Emergency Department Personnel Give Out Regarding a “John Doe”?
What Medical Expertise Would a Seasoned Commando Possess?
Can Firemen Estimate the Survival Time of a Victim Trapped in an Air Tight Enclosure?
Can Paramedics Determine if an Accident Victim is Alive by Measuring Liver Temperature?
What is the Difference Between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?
D. Medications and Drugs
What Are The Effects of the So Called “Date Rape Drugs”?
How Do Drugs Alter the Size of the User’s Pupils?
How Safe is it to Handle Cyanide?
Will Food Intake Prevent Alcohol Intoxication?
How Dangerous is it to Transport Heroin in a Swallowed Condom?
Can Opium Addiction Make Someone Violent?
Is Ritalin Useful in the Treatment of Attention Deficient Disorder And How Can it Be Abused?
What is Sea Sickness?
E. Diseases and Their Treatment
How Do Heart Disease and Angina Limit My Hero’s Activities?
How Would an Allergy to Bee Stings Affect My Character’s Lifestyle?
What Types of Malaria Exist?
What Exotic Diseases are Prevalent in the Caribbean?
What Are the Symptoms and Signs of Spinal Muscular Atrophy?
What Type of Bacterial Meningitis is Most Likely to Infect Adolescents?
Is Shock Therapy Effective Treatment for Severe Depression?
What Are the Symptoms of a Miscarriage?
What Complications of Pregnancy would Lead to Hospital or Bed Confinement?
What Medical Emergency Would Expose a Young Woman’s Secret Pregnancy?
What is the “Gulf War Syndrome”?
II. Methods of Murder and Mayhem
A. The Effects of Guns, Knives, Explosives, and Other
Weapons of Death
Can a Stun Gun Serve as a Murder Weapon?
What Happens to the Victim of a Stun Gun Attack?
Will a Stun Gun Shock Others Who Are in Contact With the Victim?
What Would a “Bang Stick” Wound Look Like?
Is a Blow to the Head More Deadly in a Heart Patient?
Will Ground Glass in Food Kill a Person?
How Long Does it Take to Smother Someone With a Pillow?
How Does a Ice Pick to the Back of the Neck Kill?
What are the Most Lethal Wounds That Can Be Made with a Knife?
What Structures Must Be Injured To Make a Stab Wound to the Back Lethal?
What Noises are Made By Victims of Stabbings or Gun Shots to the Neck?
Can Someone Who Has Been Stabbed in the Neck Speak?
Where Would an Intoxicated Person Have to be Shot to Put Them in a Coma For Two Days?
How Did David Kill Goliath?
B. Poisons and Drugs
Is There a Drug or Poison That Mimics Death But Allows the Victim to Survive?
What Poison Can Be Secreted in a Glass and Kill Instantly When Swallowed?
Can Ingested Cocaine Kill?
What Happens in Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
What Duration of Exposure to Natural Gas would Be Required to Kill a Person?
What Substance Could Be Added to Water to Hasten Death in Someone Stranded in a Desert?
Is There a Drug That Not Only Subdues a Victim But Also Erases Their Memory?
Is There a Toxic Pesticide That Can Be Disseminated By Fire or an Explosion?
Do Some Poisons Absorb Through the Skin?
Does Jimsonweed Make an Effective Poison?
How Does the “Posture” of Strychnine Poisoning Work?
What is the Lethal dose of Strychnine in Humans and in Various Animals?
Is There a Poison That Causes Stomach Distention and Death?
How Deadly Are Death Cap Mushrooms and What Do They Do to the Victim?
What Drug Available in the 19th Century Could Be Used to Make a Victim Pliable But Awake?
What Were some Common Poisons Available in Medieval Europe?
What Are the Effects of Rhubarb Ingestion?
Does Selenium Make an Effective Poison?
How Quickly Would Someone Die After Drinking Alcohol Laced with Xanax?
What Substance Can Be Added to a Fire-Eaters “Fuel” To Cause a Sudden and Dramatic Death?
C. Medical Murder
How Could Someone Undergoing Heart Surgery be Murdered?
What Dose of Morphine Would Kill a Man Undergoing Cancer Treatment?
Can a Transfusion Reaction Be Used for Murder?
Can a Bee Sting Kit be Altered to Result in the Death of the User?
Can Insulin be Used for Murder? How?
Would Denying a Diabetic Insulin Cause Death or Just Illness?
Is There a Lethal Substance That When Given to a Patient Might Appear To Be a Hospital Blunder Rather Than a Homicide?
What Drugs or Medicines Will Become Deadly When Combined With a MAO Inhibitor?
How Does a Physician Distinguish Between a Drug Induced Fever and One From an Infectious Process?
Can a Patient Be Killed By the Rapid Injection of Potassium Intravenously?
If Someone With Tuberculosis Is Smothered, Would There Be Blood on the Pillow?
III. Tracking the Perpetrator
A. The Police and The Crime Scene
What Does the Wound From a Close Range Gun Shot Look Like?
Will a Bullet Fired at Close Range Exit the Skull and If So Will the ME Be Able to Use It for Ballistic Analysis?
Can Stored Blood Be Used to “Stage” a Death?
Would Glycerol Used as a Blood Preservative Likely Be Found in Blood Used to “Stage” a Crime Scene?
How Soon Do Strangulation Bruises Appear?
When Does a Decomposing Body Begin to Smell?
Do the ME and Police Use Vicks To Mask the Odor of Decomposing Bodies?
Does a Cold Room Delay Detection of the Odor of Body Decomposition?
How Long Does It Take For an Unburied Body to Skeletonize?
What is “Calor Mortis”?
Under What Circumstances is Body Mummification Likely to Occur?
Is It Possible to Obtain Fingerprints From a Mummified Corpse?
Does a Body Mummify if it Has Been Bricked Into a Wall For Several Years?
Will a Body Encased in Concrete Mummify?
Is it Possible to “Trick” a Lie Detector?
Can an Intoxicated Person “Fake” a Field Sobriety Test?
Can Fingerprints Be Lifted From Human Skin?
B. The Coroner, The Crime Lab, and The Autopsy
Who Can Serve as Coroner?
When Are Autopsies Done and Who May Request Them?
How Detailed Are Routine Autopsies?
What Information Does an Autopsy Report Contain?
What information is Placed in a Death Certificate and Who Can Sign It?
How Is the Time of Death Determined?
Would Storing a Body in a Cold Room Hinder the Determination of Cause of Death?
Can the Coroner Distinguish Between Electrocution and a Heart Attack As the Cause of Death?
Can the ME Distinguish Between Blunt Trauma and Stab Wounds As the Cause of Death?
Can the Coroner Distinguish Between Drug Overdose and Gun Shot as the Cause of Death?
Can the Coroner Determine the Cause of Death a Month Later?
Is It Possible to Detect Morphine in a Body Two Months after Death?
Can a Blood Alcohol Level Be Determined in a “Floater” After Two Weeks?
How Long Does the Foam Around a Drowning Victim’s Mouth Persist?
From How Small a Sample Can DNA Be Obtained?
Does the ME Use Tattoos and Body Marks For Corpse Identification?
Can the Age of Surgical Scars Aid in Victim Identification?
Will Stomach Contents Reveal When and What the Victim Ingested?
Can the Type of Alcohol Found in Stomach Contents Be Determined?
Can an Autopsy Reveal a History of Pregnancy or Childbirth?
Can the Coroner Determine the Caliber of a Bullet By simple Inspection?
In Slashing Wounds, Can the ME Determine What Weapon Was Used?
Can the Coroner Distinguish Between Fresh and Salt Water Drowning?
Will an Autopsy Determine if Chlorine is Present in the Lungs?
Do Skin and Nail Changes Occur With some Poisons?
Is There a Poison That Can’t Be Detected or That Can Be Masked By Venom?
Do Post-Mortem Wounds Bleed?
What Do “Mood Cosmetics” Look Like on a Corpse?
How Was Death Determined in the 17th Century?
Odds and Ends, Mostly Odds
Do the Pupils Enlarge or Shrink with Death?
Do Bodies Move During Cremation?
How is Body Weight Determined in a Quad Amputee?
What Drug Is Used for Animal Euthansia?
Will Oleander Poison a Cat?
What “Hot” Substance Can Be Used to “Sabotage” Someone’s Diaphragm?
Do Blind Persons Have “Visual” Dreams?