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Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 1997 Mar;18(1):33-9.

Homicidal poisoning by paraquat.

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  • 1Medical Examiner's Office, City and County of San Francisco, California 94103, USA.


The determination of homicidal poisoning due to the oral administration of paraquat presents a unique challenge for both the clinician and the pathologist. Reported are four cases of homicidal paraquat poisoning, three leading to conviction and one possible, but unproved case. This study illustrates that intentional paraquat poisoning is not generally considered, even when physicians are faced with an atypical clinical course for inflammatory disease. The mechanism of action and symptoms of paraquat poisoning are presented, guidelines for when to suspect paraquat are given, and recommendations for treatment are outlined.

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