Posts Tagged ‘suicide’

Sandra Bland case – Too many inconsistencies & unanswered questions!

July 31, 2015

There are too many questions still to be answered – this is a very disturbingly confused situation, suggesting a need for an in depth and thorough investigation

As a retired research pathologist and physician the Sandra Bland case is very disturbing to me.

Sandra Bland was arrested after an officer stopped her for not using a signal to change lanes and then, although legally but questionably as he had no reasonable basis to do so, told her to stop smoking and then  got mad at her and made her get out of the car because she seemed to object to this request.

When she got out of the car and was verbally objecting to the officer’s requests, the officer then slammed her to the ground causing her to smash her head down.  Then she complained she couldn’t hear, which indicates she suffered a concussion.

She told the officers she had epilepsy and was on a medication, Kepra.

The jail then claims she committed suicide by hanging three days later with a plastic bag.

Yes it is possible to hang yourself by leaning in after securing your hands so you cannot get the bag or rope away from suffocating you even without any drop. Many prisoners have killed themselves in this manner called “leaning in hanging”.

If the jail denied her  the epilepsy medication, it is possible that she died from a seizure as the medication wore out of her system and then made her prone to a seizure. The stress of the situation and lack of medication could have contributed to having a seizure. Then they could have staged the hanging.  If this was true, then there would be no bleeding after death around the ligature (plastic bag) which was around her neck and no petechiae (pin point hemmorhages).  Petechiae however, are not always present with hanging or suffocation.

If she was strangled and then the hanging staged, the autopsy report, if it was done properly, should show that the ligature furrowing was concentric and not consistent with hanging.  A hanging will have non-concentric furrowing as the ligature has more pressure on one side due to gravity.

There was also plant matter in her abrasions on her back, consistent with the day she was arrested, having been thrown to the ground and dragged.  It is negligence for the jail not to have cleaned and treated her abrasions or allowed her to shower properly for three days to clean the wounds.

If the blood tests show she did not have her medication, then that also would be negligence, as lack of medication needed for epilepsy could have precipitated a seizure.

The reports say she told the officers she was suicidal, but the jail did not have her on a suicide watch. That would also be negligence. Suicide in jails often occurs during the first few days in jail as that is when the detainee is most upset about the situation. Ms. Bland certainly had reason to be upset as the circumstances of the arrest and slamming her to the ground seem excessive.

In addition, she had an unusually high amount of marijuana in her blood.  Therefore, she was given a large amount of marijuana in the jail which she either ingested or smoked. That needs investigation. I am not an expert on effects of marijuana so I cannot comment on whether this can increase suicidal ideation or depression or if it can trigger seizures.

The autopsy does not prove she hung herself.  There are too many questions still to be answered.

A senior well-known forensic pathologist, Dr. Cyril Wecht , who is also an attorney agrees with the above assessment during an interview on the radio here.

Suicide when there is great suffering

March 24, 2010

This is a difficult topic that very few want to talk about. We relieve suffering at the end of life more with our pets than with our family and friends. Hospice care in the U.S. to relieve severe pain and suffering at the end of life is often not available. It is inhumane and torture to not provide relief to those at the end of life who are suffering.

I think the majority of people believe that at the end of life when the pain is unbearable, the suffering is great, and there is no hope, it is OK to commit suicide or to have a doctor prescribe a lethal dose of medicine to hasten death taken by the person or administered by a doctor (euthanasia).

Unfortunately only the laws in Oregon, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Belgium allow one or both of these options under strictly controlled conditions. Eventually as there are not enough young people to take care of the elderly, suffering, and dying elderly (baby boomers – etc) the laws will be changed and we will all have this option.

Right now only citizens of Oregon can ask for physician assisted suicide and only Switzerland allows foreigners to obtain physician assisted suicide, but only in Switzerland. Nevertheless, there are many who obtain assisted suicide around the world daily, as well as many who resort to painful, uncertain, and messy means of ending their lives.

I have started to look into such means as I know in the future (near or far) my sufferings and misery will be more than I can bear. I just want to make those who want to choose this path aware that you can obtain information about this topic from several thankfully available web sites including:

Dignitas (Swiss organization) –

Exit International –

Assisted Suicide Organization –

I want to publicly thank these organizations and their founders for the work they are doing to stop suffering and make our exit from this world peaceful and certain.

Note: This statement in no way is meant to encourage others to commit suicide. It is for informational purposes only so that the public is fully aware of the need to change laws to permit assisted suicide and euthanasia as a means to reduce suffering in the end of life.

For anyone seeking suicide as an answer to other than end of life reducing suffering,  please go to your nearest hospital or psychiatric center and ask for help. There often is help when everything seems hopeless. Call the National Suicide hotline and seek help: 1-800-SUICIDE

Related posts:

Suicide is Painless – well written discussion

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