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Dr Brims
Dr Brims, U.S. Licensed Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 8884
Experience:  MD
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Hi. My mother died on Tuesday the 24th in her sleep. We, her

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Hi. My mother died on Tuesday the 24th in her sleep. We, her children do not believe that she died of natural causes. On the 3rd of march I took her for a full check up at a very reputable GP. He did multiple tests - ECG, Chest Xrays, blood tests and a urine test. She was in perfect health. Although the Chest and lung Xrays were clear, she was wheezing very badly. Her skin had always been very blotchy and all of a sudden her complection became very rosey. At first she was constipated but then her stomach began to work properly. She could only eat small portions of soft foods and felt very weak but when she came to visit me she ate a hearty meal and felt stronger. She told me that after spending a few days with me she always felt much better but each time that she went home she felt ill again. She complained about mild symtoms for about two weeks and then all of a sudden in the last two weeks of her life she had such severe abdominal pain that she could only walk short distances and was very dizzy. She complained about bad headaches. When we looked at her she was the picture of good health apart from the abdominal pain. I phone her every night to check on her and I often checked on her through the day. When I called her earlier that night she said that she felt a lot better and the pain was less if she was lying down. She also said that she was constantly thirsty. She was not passing blood or vomiting. She is not a diabetic and there is no history of cancer or any other inherited sickness in our family. My mother had a very hard life until my father passed away four years ago but she was a very strong women. I spoilt her in many ways and everyone knew her to be a strong and vibrant women. It was a shock to all of us when she passed away so suddenly. When I found her body it looked as if her nose was pushed into the pillow so that she couldn't breath. She was lying on her side and the side of her face that was on the pillow was almost black as if the blood had all run to the one side of her face. I also noticed blood on the mattress where her face had been laying after she was taken away. It was not a lot of blood, about the size of a hand and not very deep. We suspect unnatural causes because she had life rights on a property which had been sold by her nephew without her being told. Two nights before she would be told to leave by the end of May she passed away. We would have taken legal action against him for trying to evict her and he knew that he would loose his own home if we did so. His aunt who lived with her for the past seven years hated her and they often fought. Strangely enough, she was very nice to my mother in the last four weeks of her life. She even took my mother food. My mother said that she did not like to drink water from my aunt because it always tasted funny. Please help. Heather.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr Brims replied 2 years ago.

Dr Brims :

Hello, welcome to Justanswer, I will try to assist you with your medical question, and any medical information you seek

Dr Brims :

I'm sorry to hear about your loss

Dr Brims :

What question about this can I help you answer?

Customer:

Hello, Dr Brims. We suspect that our mother was poisoned. Gradually at first over a month or two and then received higher doses within the last two weeks before she would have been evicted. We suspect Finale rat poison or any other brand of rat poison or the poisons from a castor plant ( grows in their garden ) or arsenic. Would these toxins have these kind of symptoms ?

Dr Brims :

Any of these poisons can cause these symptoms, but they would have likely been detected through blood tests

Customer:

I checked with the lab that did the blood tests and they told me that they would not have detected any toxins in the blood because they only tested the blood for symptoms that the doctor had enquired from them.

Dr Brims :

Okay, I understand

Dr Brims :

Did they perform an autopsy?

Customer:

Initially when the doctor at the undertakers asked us if we would like an autopsy done we said no because we thought that our mother had died from natural causes due to her abdominal pain and her age ( 72 ). She was a very young 72 year old, she even did belly dancing with us. Only afterwards did we suspect that it could be by unnatural causes. It seemed so perfectly timed to fit in with her eviction and therefore cost my cousin nothing in legal fees. We were surposed to bury her today but we have decided to wait.

Dr Brims :

I see, and are there any other questions you would like me to answer on this subject?

Customer:

If we have an autopsy done, what would they need to do to detect any poisons ? Would it be easy to detect ?

Dr Brims :

They would only need to perform a routine autopsy. It should not be difficult to detect

Customer:

Would our GP be able to perform it or would we need a specific doctor ? Would my mother bleed from her mouth if she had had a heart attack or a stroke ?

Dr Brims :

A GP cannot perform an autopsy, a pathologist needs to perform it. She would not necessarily bleed from her mouth with a heart attack or stroke

Customer:

Is there any other illness were the patient dies and it causes her to bleed from her mouth ?

Dr Brims :

She may have bled from her mouth if she bit her tongue, if she coughed up blood it could have been due to heart failure or pneumonia

Customer:

What I find so hard to understand is that her GP told me that her heart was in excellent condition and she didn't have pneumonia because she was a retired doctor and she would have known that. She kept saying to me after we left the GP that she knows her body and that there is definitly something wrong with her but that she can't understand it. What advise would you give us, please. We are so desparate. We will not hold you to your answer.

Dr Brims :

I'm really sorry for your loss, but at this point there is not much you can do but wait for an autopsy, guessing at possible causes will not help to solve anything right now, you need objective finding to determine the cause of death since she was not diagnosed with any illness prior to her passing. I think you would be best served by having a pathologist perform an autopsy

Customer:

Thank you for your advice. May I ask one last question please ? If my mother had a bleeding ulser, but wasn't passing blood in her urine or in her stools and she wasn't coughing up blood . Is it possible that she could have died from it ?

Dr Brims :

Yes, she could have died from it if she suffered a lot of blood loss, when there is a large amount of blood it may cause black stools rather than obvious blood

Dr Brims :

Are you there?

Customer:

Please forgive me for keeping you longer. Before she died she told me that her tummy was working but only a little each time. I really don't think that she would have black stools if she was only eating soft foods and I am very sure that she would have checked her stools very carefully each time because she was monitoring her body very caerefully to try to find out what was wrong with her.

Dr Brims :

Then perhaps she did not have a bleeding ulcer, the truth is she may not have checked her stool if the bleeding was sudden and on the day she passed

Dr Brims :

This is just a possibility, I am not saying this was the cause of death

Customer:

She looked as if she had gone to sleep as normal and I did check the bedding to see if there was any blood. I also noticed that she had not flushed the toilet before going to sleep ( you know these old people always trying to save water ). There was no blood. Dr Brims, I feel so hopeless. I don't want to believe that she died of unnatural causes but I also know that she would like us to know if there had been fowl-play.

Dr Brims :

I an sorry about this,and I don't want you to feel hopeless, this is definitely unfortunate and I hope the cause can be resolved soon, and the only sure way to do this is via an autopsy

Customer:

Thank you for your kindness and understanding. Kind regards. Heather.

Dr Brims, U.S. Licensed Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 8884
Experience: MD
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