Jump to content
Science Forums

Can Someone Really Die From This?


LisaL
 Share

Recommended Posts

 

 

I read about a crime case that happened in the early 20th Century, where a 38 year old man killed a 13 year old by tying him down and drained his blood. The person who looked at the body concluded that ''blood did not flow freely from the body, but was sucked out''. There were some four dozen small holes in the boy's skin, mostly on the face and neck, but the autopsy concluded that not a single artery was actually pierced open, and yet the boy died from extreme blood loss.

 

So was the boy a hemophilliac? Did the man just have abnormally strong/big lips/mouth muscles or can anyone die from this? It seems hard to believe that a little suction on a few little wounds would end up finishing a young man.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know the answer to your question Lisa, but I do know this....that is one hell of creepy story.

Indeed! I’d like to say that makes me doubt the story’s veracity, or that such depravity couldn’t happen in more modern times, but well-verified crimes like those of Jeffrey Dahmer, who from 1978 to 1991, killed and ate 17 men and boys put lie to that hope.

 

So was the boy a hemophilliac? Did the man just have abnormally strong/big lips/mouth muscles or can anyone die from this? It seems hard to believe that a little suction on a few little wounds would end up finishing a young man.

I don’t think any unusual condition (other than a person attempting to suck the blood out of another person) are needed for this horrific scenario to occur. A key number to notice in the story you report is “four dozen small holes”. That’s a lot of holes!

 

An average (70 kg) adult male has about 4.7 L of blood. A little home experiment (just spitting a mouthful of water into a measuring cup, nothing vampiric!) showed my mouth holds about 0.1 L. I recall from my Boy Scout snakebite firstaid training that you can suck a mouthful of blood from a small cur. So it seems entirely plausible to me that somebody so perversely inclined could suck enough blood from a 13 year old boy, or an adult, through 48 small holes, to kill him.

 

I doubt that, in such a case, more than about 50% of the blood would have been sucked out, because the victims heart would likely stop after about 50% of his blood was gone. Also, this level of blood loss is approached, the body attempts to keep vital organs working by constricting its arterioles so that much less blood reaches the capillaries, much reducing what’s known as the capillary refill rate. When this happens, there would be little blood near the skin to suck out through the small holes, no matter how many there are.

 

For some basic information on blood loss and its effects, see the Wikipedia article hypovolemia.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...