Positional Asphyxia:
Reflection On
2 Cases

Belviso M, De Donno A, Vitale L, et al. Positional asphyxia: reflection on 2 cases.
Am J Forensic Med Pathol, Sep 2003, 24(3) p292-297

This article isn't really "about" restraint asphyxia. In fact, when they mention it, the authors focus only upon hogtying being its cause – despite the fact that, well-prior to September of 2003, hogtying was recognized as being merely an "insult" added to the true cause of restraint asphyxia "injury": forceful-prone-restraint.
But, OOOH! I was terrifically excited to learn from these authors that "traumatic asphyxia" researchers recognized the dangers of abdominal compression as early as 1837, 1855 and 1938!!!:

In the 19th century, Ollivier and Tardieu were the first to study traumatic asphyxia, an expression that indicates, according to Carrara et al., "the compression and immobilization of the thorax or of the thorax and abdomen together, for an indeterminate length of time, until respiration ceases or becomes inefficacious".
I was also particularly pleased with the authors' recognition that "traumatic asphyxia" is NOT a reasonable label to assign to deaths caused by restraint asphyxia:
traumatic asphyxia... This type of compression of the thorax can occur in a great variety of situations, ranging from complete crushing of the thorax by heavy objects (landslides, buildings collapsing, vehicles overturning, etc.) to lesser causes, such as immobilization of the thorax through being crushed in a crowd.
The 2 cases discussed in this article are one of positional asphyxia, and one of traumatic asphyxia. Sooooo ... This is an interesting article. But, not one of any significant consequence to "restraint asphyxia" research.

I've posted this Am J Forensic Med Pathol article in PDF file format.
If you don't have an Adobe Acrobat PDF file program, you can download a FREE version HERE.

Positional Asphyxia: Reflection On 2 Cases

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