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View Diary: Alone and Frozen, First Black Woman Legislator in SC Dies (248 comments)

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  •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
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    Instead, the ambient temperature in her house got 46 degrees lower than the temperature needed to prevent hypothermia.

    How could you possibly know the temperature inside her home, to 1°F precision, even if her furnace wasn't working?  
    While it is possible that her furnace ceased to work, it is irresponsible to go online and declare your guess as some kind of proven fact.

    •  The outdoor ambient temperature got down (0+ / 0-)

      To that temperature, and if her house did not have heat for several days in a row, it's likely that it matched the outdoor temperature indoor. Houses don't hold their heat that long, unless they use VERY unconventional construction techniques.

      It's odd that you keep trying to defend the utility, when you have equally little information. It is highly probable that they killed this woman by denying her heat.

      It's something that used to happen all the time in New England.

      It's something that should not be allowed to happen anywhere.

      •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It's odd that you keep trying to defend the utility, when you have equally little information. It is highly probable that they killed this woman by denying her heat.

        True, all I have is the information in the article.

        But what little information exists, already contradicts your indictment of the utility company:  the coroner's estimate puts her time of death about three days before her electricity was cut.

        Note also that this isn't defending the utility so much as her family:  if your mother has dementia, you arrange to have the utilities paid out of your account.  But again, that doesn't seem to have been the cause of death.

        •  No, it doesn't. (1+ / 0-)
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          Senor Unoball

          Coroner's reports on things like a death discovered long after it occurred are not that specific, especially in cold weather.

          That's why it used the word "around" instead of "on." The ambient air temperature has a significant effect on many of the details used to determine the time of death - especially if it's very cold (like the several sub-freezing days), which prevents insect predation - the factor that would give the most accurate information, and even at that, if it had been warm enough for insects to lay eggs and larvae to hatch (it wasn't), they'd only be accurate within 24 - 36 hours when the temperatures are below about 65 degrees (or above roughly 80 degrees), because the insects' growth and reproduction rates would be altered.

          Unless the coroner ignored the standards he/she would have been taught, he/she gave a window in which death could have occurred and either the reporter, the editor, or whoever spoke with the reporter chose to use "around the 20th."

          Since other evidence (extra layers of clothing, using sterno instead of the stove) point to the woman being cold and without a stove before she died (which would be consistent with being alive when the electricity went off), it's more likely that she died when there was no heat, than when there was heat.

          However, I completely agree that we need to do whatever we can to help ensure our most vulnerable people do not end up in a situation where anyone even has to wonder if they died due to lack of basic necessities.

          •  Fer feck's sake (0+ / 0-)

            The ambient air temperature has a significant effect on many of the details used to determine the time of death

            First of all, as I said above, this makes your claim even less believable.  If the cold had somehow retarded decomposition, it would skew the coroner's estimate in the opposite direction.
            The coroner estimates a death around Feb 20; you claim that she really died several days after the 23rd, nearly a week later.  For the coroner to be mistaken in that direction, the decomposition would have to happen faster, not slower.
            That's assuming that all this stuff you're writing is true; from your style of argument I cannot tell which of your facts are invented.

            •  Studies and best practices available via google (0+ / 0-)

              3 days ≠ week. (7 - 4 = 3)

              Being refrigerated keeps the body in stasis, and prevents changes that would give clues in either direction. The coroner would have to provide a wider window, not a narrower one, as a result. Insect and bacterial decay are the only things that would provide time clues after the first 6 - 12 hours, or so. She was dead for many days before she was found, and the temperature was cold enough that insects and bacteria would do very little, making it virtually impossible to pinpoint when, exactly she died.

              The coroner him/herself said "around" not "on".

              Her behavior (which you continue to ignore) indicates that she felt cold and put on extra clothing before she died.

              It also indicates that she used an alternative to the stove for heating food before she died.

              Combine those two factors with the fact that the coroner did not specify an absolute date but an approximate date, and we are left with: she was alive when her house got cold, tried to address that by adding layers of clothing, but died when her body continued to lose heat faster than it could generate it.

              It's a common pattern:

              Bay City officials said they don't believe anyone made one-on-one contact with Schur, found dead Jan. 17, four days after the city installed a device to limit flow of electricity to his home.

              Neighbors discovered Schur's body inside his 1600 S. Chilson St. home, lying on the floor next to his bed, wrapped in several layers of clothes.

              The sisters, each of whom had health problems in recent years, were found on the floor - two lying down, one sitting up. Two had their feet tucked under the coal stove. Each had on several layers of clothing...

              Could her house have been cold through her own actions before the heat was shut off, indirectly, by the electric company? Sure. The probability is some number between zero and 100%. The probability of her house being cold enough for her to die of hypothermia after the shut-off, however, was 100%.

              •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

                3 days ≠ week. (7 - 4 = 3)

                Please recheck your math:  you claim she died several days after her power was cut, which would be the 26.  The coroner's estimate was the 20th.  In other words, you're saying this estimate is off by nearly a week.

    •  And quoting Jan. temps, vs Feb. temps (0+ / 0-)

      A month off.

      This health care system is a moral atrocity. Dr. Ralphdog

      by AllisonInSeattle on Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 04:19:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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