How do you find out if too much medication caused a death?

I just lost my brother to a lifelong battle with an illness but feel that he was 'aided 'into the end stage and then they had to give a high dose of morphine to stop the breathing.It's known that his wife had another man and I'm uneasy how the event went down. The only words he could force out was this man's name, trouble and cover up before he passed away.What can and should I do?

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  • Dan S
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    You need proof of a motive or proof of a method used to commit the murder, if indeed it is a murder.

    Death by morphine is hard to prove, it is the ultimate pain reliever. Cancer patents and those in serious pain use it because eventually no other pain relief works. Morphine decreases the breathing reflex so when the patient falls asleep, due to oxygen starvation, they quietly die. The difference between killing a patient with morphine & just treating their pain is only a hairline. Before Dr. Kavorkin started assistant suicides the way that physicians gave a patient merciful release was though morphine. Of course when a patient is at the point where he needs that much pain treatment then death is very close anyway, unless you want to torture your patient.

    I won't say that your brother wasn't murdered I will assume that he could have gotten better or had a few more years of quality life left. In this case there is a chance that she did rob him of several years of life & didn’t make a mistake. For argument's sake lets say that she was a gold digger & she killed your brother so she & the other man could inherit his wealth, or just to avoid having to pay all his medical bills—prove it! It could be possible to determine if he was given an overdose of morphine. Morphine dosages are adjusted by weight so if she gave him a large dose then that could have been found in the autopsy. (I assume that an autopsy wasn't conducted or it did not find an overdose). It is just as likely that she made a dosage mistake, or he was sensitive to the morphine. If it can be determined that she gave a 175 lb man enough morphine for a 265 lb man than that could be a sign of murder. If she gave him enough morphine for a 200 lb man then that could be a mistake, a miss-estimation of the proper dosage & not murder.

    The problem then lies in proving it. To test the body you have to have proof that he was murdered, & to get that proof you need to test the body. So you can't get a court order to get the corpse exhumed & tested, without his wife's permission. If she killed her husband then she will definitely not want an autopsy. But, then she could say that she doesn't want to bring up the pain again or that she just wants him to lie at rest with equal validity. Her reaction to refusing an exhumation will not mean anything. If she says yes then the question could still be in doubt, so the body is not the best place to start.

    If she says yes then she might not have killed him, maybe the other man did, or maybe a real mistake was made. Even if you had the body to autopsy it is going to be very hard to prove that his death wasn't due to an accident, or due to a sensitivity that he had to the morphine, or a general breathing problem or general organ failure. Sometimes the body just gives up; long painful illnesses can do that.

    A man's last words are honored & they are always taken to be a truthful utterance, but they aren't proof of anything, unless the man confesses to a crime. Legally that is proof enough, provided the man is near death, he knows it, & he does die after saying that without regaining consciousness. Accusations of guilt or innocence are not a fact.

    If your brother did mean that someone was covering up his death, it still doesn't mean that he was murdered. Someone could be covering up something else; the defense attorney would only have to introduce reasonable doubt & your case would fall apart. Your brother did not point an accusing finger saying, “She killed me.” Cover up could mean a lot of things. Trouble is a vague word. Did he mean that his wife was trouble, was in trouble or had trouble? Did he mean that she had trouble adjusting the morphine drip? Then what did he mean by naming the other man. It meant he knew about it, but you said that wasn’t a secret. Did your brother mean that his wife or the other man killed him? That’s enough reasonable doubt to break the case.

    It's complicated & so difficult to prove. Here is what I think you should do. Try to investigate the case yourself; all murder cases rest on the tripod of MOTIVE, METHOD & OPPORTUNITY. Motive: did she have one & can you prove that it was a sufficiently strong enough motive to commit murder? Method: did she understand that the morphine could kill him & did she know how to adjust the morphine drip to kill him? Opportunity: was she present at the time of his death. She could have easily raised the level of the morphine death & then leave the room, only to come back & find him dead. Proving that she did this with malice will be hard to prove. She can come up with any excuse from "I needed to go to the bathroom" to "He seemed alright & I had to do some things around the house." All she has to say is “He seemed alright to me, sick, but holding his own” or something similar to clear her of any guilt.

    Having an affair with another man is a sure sign of falling out of love with someone, but that is not enough motive to murder someone, some people’s marriages recover after this. All she has to do is to say that they were trying to put their marriage back together & she can clear herself. The courts will assume that she still loved your brother unless you can find proof that she didn’t.

    Proof is very hard to get. If a person says something then unless they are relating an incident it is considered hearsay & inadmissible; if someone can say, “she told me that she wanted to kill him” then it will be proof of a motive, unless the defense attorney could get someone to say that they were wrong or somehow prove that the person is lying. If one witness says, “she told me that she wanted to kill him” then they will have to have proof to back that up, otherwise they could be making it up. So you need a second witness, which only makes things harder. Just collecting on his insurance policy & just having an affair are not proof of her real motives. The only way you’re going to prove someone’s motive is if they state it to a credible witness or if they provide direct proof of that motive.

    The first place good investigators start with is the money. Money always leaves a trail that can be traced. If the murder was for a monetary reason then you can find something in her bank records, assuming that you could get access to them. Legally you can’t. If she had another motive then you need a witness & another witness to back them up. This is what many murder cases hinge on.

    Opportunity is easy; where was she when he died & up to the point when he died. Since she was his wife & he was very sick it would be strange if she was not in a position that gave her the opportunity to kill her husband. She was probably very near him when he died. If someone else murdered him then you would need to prove that they were there. You can’t use opportunity to base your case on. She had it & it would be expected. She doesn’t need an alibi, her alibi is that she loved her husband, which takes you back to motive.

    Method is going to be easy to prove. Most doctors educate the family of their patients on how to use a morphine drip. Often the patient will need to have it adjusted & it is correct & proper to let a family member do it. So it would be unusual if she did not understand the method to kill him. Now morphine drip machines have a daily limit, & if you can prove that she exceeded that limit then you have some proof. Do you have the machine, or do you have any way to find it? If it’s electronic records haven’t been cleared yet then you might have a chance to prove this. If she reset the machine or got rid of it then you will have a problem, especially if someone else is using that machine. Some machines do give a printed record so you could look for those records. However, you’re going to have a hard time finding proof on the machine or some sort of records. This would be a good place to start your investigation. If you can find proof of abuse then you can make your case right there.

    Source(s): The first thing you need to do is address the Method of the crime. Get those records or that machine & try to find proof that it was misused. She can claim that it was an accident though so unless it is a gross mistake then it is going to be hard to prove. Therefore Motive is going to be the most important place to start. Police & prosecutors only want to investigate cases that are fresh or that they can win. What is the state of the investigation? Has it been closed? What is on the death certificate? You can go to the doctor or hospital & ask for a copy of it. “He was my brother & I want to know what happened!” Don’t start out saying you’re trying to prove a crime until you have some evidence to back it up. Don’t even bother going to the police or the prosecutors office, except to get a copy of their reports, until you have proof of either a motive or a method, & I mean proof that will hold up in court & has no reasonable doubt about it. A private investigator wants to get paid, they like to win & catch the bad guy or they wouldn’t be in the business; but first they need to be paid. If you can afford a private investigator to look into the situation then you should try that. At least they will be willing to listen to you, but unless you have an inkling of proof or a method to get proof they are not going to be very interested in your case. You can collect the records yourself (of pay a PI to do it for you), but YOU need to start putting things together. In this case the legal & moral assumption is that your brother was not murdered. Until you can put that issue in doubt you’re stuck with just an idea. If you do find something that you consider to be proof then you can show it to me. I am not a lawyer, or a professional investigator, but I do know the minimum requirements. At least I won’t charge you for my opinion. You can contact me via my avatar. I can’t promise to be a great help to you, but you have to start somewhere.
  • 1 decade ago

    if they did a autopsy then you could request a copy of the report. If the autopsy revealed anything odd then the police would be told,but if he didn't have an autopsy it will be difficult to find out unless you could convince the police that you feel like foul play was involved. If you feel as though he died from something else other than his illness then you should talk to the police and let them know the reason for your beliefs.

  • 1 decade ago

    Not enough information to give an informed answer.

    Was an autopsy done? Outside of personally calling and speaking with the medical examiner who did the autopsy and possibly going to the authorities or hiring an attorney, I haven't a clue what other alternatives you may have than those mentioned.

  • 1 decade ago

    That's what Autopsies are for. There will be an automatic autopsy if there was an insurance policy taken out up to 2 years prior to the death. Most definitely talk to the police, tell them your feelings about it. Don't give up until you are satisfied with the results. I'm sorry for your loss. Good luck

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    i be attentive to that blending Xanax and oxycodone and over the counter sleep aids could be doubtlessly deadly. This record of drugs is very reminiscent of the record that Heath Ledger took before he died (prehaps an analogous). blending those drugs could reason respiration failure regardless of if each and every are taken at favourite therapuetic doses. There are extreme questions right here collectively with, "Why could a doctor prescribe Xanax whilst the affected person is already on Valium and oxycodone and different doubtlessly reactive drugs?" regrettably this does ensue. docs do no longer consistently be attentive to each thing their sufferers are taking or what the accessible consequences ought to be if somebody takes specific drugs collectively (without or with prescription). Xanax does an analogous issues as Valium and distinctive sleep aids, so why could all of those drugs be utilized by employing one affected person? i could think of the affected person could additionally be attentive to greater effectual. those drugs depress the physique (fantastically the lungs); taking diverse ones of those will enhance this result. If the gadget (the physique and its metabolism) is bogged down adequate, loss of life instead of sleep will ensue. If alcohol is ate up, the end result could be magnified many situations. it is not so common as addition (2+2=4). Drug cocktails usually have undesirable consequences which would be worse than overdose on any of the aspects or the sum of the aspects. The scientific community could do greater to guard human beings from this. additionally you ought to evaluate that poisonous tiers can selection. what isn't poisonous for many folk could be for some. as an occasion, the prescribed dose of Xanax to elderly human beings is often 0.5 of what's prescribed to youthful adults. It usually relies upon on metabolism. Many drugs (collectively with Xanax) buildup immediately in elderly human beings, so docs ought to be much greater careful approximately reactions with different drugs. some drugs could result human beings of diverse sizes or races in a diverse way too. For some drugs this is hard to tell what the poisonous point is.

  • Becca
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Well, you can do toxicology tests post-mortem. Was there an autopsy?

    Overdose of morphine is hard to prove, if your brother was on morphine to begin with. There is no ceiling dose for morphine, so toxic dose is different for everyone.

    I am so sorry for your loss.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You should tell law officials what your brother said just before he died. They can look in to such things. Maybe you can petition the court for an autopsy.

  • 1 decade ago

    Contact your local police station, and tell them you feel it's possible your brother died due to some "help", and you're suspicious about the cause of death.

    If that doesn't do anything, get a lawyer.

  • m c
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Medical Examiners Report, will show actual cause of death. Sorry to hear about your brother.

  • deedee
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    report it to police or doctor or get a lawyers advice,an autopsy would tell . AND I am so sorry for your loss,

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