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March 28, 2005

The Michael Schiavo guide for murdering your wife and getting away with it.

Lets say a nursing student, for the sake of the illustration we'll call him “Mike” decided he wanted to kill his wife. Now said wife, oh, let's call her “Terri” had been dieting recently, but was still well within normal weight for her height. “Mike” wanted to do her in, in a way that could be dismissed as “natural causes”. As a nursing student/nurse, he'd have access to the knowledge, equipment and medicine to do so, but what would look natural. Let's say “Mike” took a B-D 3ml 25g1 1/2 syringe (I'm have one setting on my desk in front of me. It's very thin but long. Thin enough to be missed unless someone was intentionally and carefully looking for puncture marks) and put a carefully measured amount of injectable KCL or Potassium Chloride, something easily available to nurses, nursing students, medical students even from veterinarians. As a nurse/nursing student he'd have plenty of time to practice with the syringe to get the timing down just right, and when she was distracted -- wham -- a quick shot straight into the chest cavity center left.

I'm told that a direct dose of KCL with that kind of syringe, to the heart will stop it in less than a minute. So “Mike” waits a few minutes, then makes “frantic” call to 911. But they get there sooner than he expected and are able to revive her. Once in the emergency room they note the elevated potassium level, but are told she'd been dieting, and assume Bulimia. “Mike” can't get to her to finish the job yet, but before he has a chance to the prospect of a juicy malpractice suit raises it's ugly head. So he waits, and after the money is secure, looks for a way to finish the job.

But an elevated potassium level in a hospital would look suspicious. Maybe insulin shock? Easy to cause, just inject some insulin. But the nurses are too quick and treat “Terri” before the effects can cause her death. 

This is just a theory. I'm not a medical professional, but some of you may be and could shed light on the plausibility of this scenario. I'm told that the enzymes typically associated with a heart attack were absent from Terri Schiavo's blood stream following her collapse. Would an injection of KCL to the heart leave such enzymes? What would the residue potassium in her blood stream be, given the quantity needed to stop the heart? Would an injection site that small be noticed by an EMS team, or emergency room doctors? Would there be records of injectable potassium chloride and syringes being removed from a hospital or nursing school?

Posted by Danny Carlton at March 28, 2005 08:34 AM

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When Terri was admitted to the hospital, her potassium level was low, not high. I feel sorry for both sides and all parties involved. I will make sure that both my husband and I have living wills so this sort of thing doesn't happen to us. It's ridiculous.

Posted by: Terri C at March 28, 2005 09:27 AM

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