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Forensic Toxicology

Forensic Toxicology

This was true in the death of actor Heath Ledger. He died of a prescription drug overdose. The death was ruled an accidental death after forensic pathology determined the cause of death. Although there were rumors surrounding Ledger’s death, the autopsy report listed accidental death by the use of prescription drugs resulting in a toxic combination of drugs.

Toxicology reports could determine the cause of death, but other forensic methods determined it was Heath alone in his hotel room using the drugs. This form of forensic science is needed in all legal proceedings. A cause of death is needed for all death certificates. In some cases, the forensic pathology report is used in a criminal case or a civil suit. Other cases that use toxicology reports to explain a reason for death are when a person that appears healthy suddenly dies and there is no apparent or logical reason for the death. This is the case in some of the most thought out murders in the world.

Husbands or wives suddenly die and there is no physical injury or underlying health problems. Forensic toxicology has worked to uncover drugs in their systems that caused the death. This is true in the death of some patients at Good Samaritan Hospital located in New York’s Long Island. Richard Angelo would inject drugs into patients that would cause them a near death experience and he would be the one to be the hero and save their lives. That was until some of the patients started dying before being saved.

Out of thirty-seven code blues on his graveyard shift, only twelve people lived. The paralyzing drugs used were later identified by the use of forensic toxicology when one patient managed to use the call button to alert nurses who took a urine sample and had it analyzed. Forensic toxicology reports showed signs of the drugs in his system that was not administered by doctors or nurses as a treatment. Without the use of forensic science, it would have gone uncovered for many more years and more people would have died at the hands of this serial killer as he was later labeled. 

Forensic toxicology has been used in many high profile cases where people have died for no apparent reason. The use of toxicology in forensic science is used in courts to convict suspects in many deaths. Without this specific science, more cases may have gone unsolved or written off as natural causes. Toxicology is also used to determine if someone is driving with a high alcoholic level. This is done by drawing blood and analyzing it. There are many cases won because of the results. Today, it is harder for murders to go unsolved because of such technology in forensics science.