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#1
Old 03-29-2007, 05:04 PM
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Death by exsanguination, how long?

How long does it actually take someone to die by exsanguination, such as slitting their wrists?
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#2
Old 03-29-2007, 05:55 PM
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With the wrists, time to die is described in two to four hours, according to one site that appears to be giving instructions on how to do it best, so I'm not going to link to them here. Of all the ways to kill yourself, it actually sounds fairly prolonged and painful.

Regardless of how it's done, or how quickly, (slitting wrists vs something like a stab wound to the jugular) this journal article describes loss of 40% or more of one's blood as immediately life-threatening.
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Old 03-29-2007, 06:02 PM
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Forgot to add that typical blood volume in an adult is five liters.

Hypovolemic shock can happen with the loss of as little as one liter.
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Old 03-29-2007, 06:06 PM
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Is the size of the person a time factor.?
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Old 03-29-2007, 06:55 PM
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When I was in medical school, the anatomy instructors described an injury called a "butcher block cut" inside the inner thigh which transsected the femoral artery and vein. Supposedly it is an occupational hazard of butchers. This was illustrated by an anecdote of a Japanese politician who died by such an injury, attacked on the steps of parliament, who supposedly bled out and died in 90 seconds.

I am not able to find even a mention of this anecdote on Google, but I find it highly believable that such a cut would kill you in 2 minutes. Those are very large blood vessels.

Coincidentally on the Japanese tangent, the customary method of committing suicide in Samurai days was by a deep abdominal cut that would transsect the descending aorta if done properly; I imagine that would also cause very rapid death.

I wonder what it is about the Japanese and major blood vessels.

Last edited by HMS Irruncible; 03-29-2007 at 06:59 PM.
#6
Old 03-29-2007, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaboi867
How long does it actually take someone to die by exsanguination, such as slitting their wrists?
There are really two different quetsions being asked here.

The first is how long does it take a person to die after exsanguination. The answer is that it takes less than 3 minutes one blood supply to the brain stops.

The second is how long it takes for sufficient blood to be lost for flow to the brain to stop. Thee is no simple answer to that question. As others have pointed out if you just cut the veins in the wrist it can take anything up to 6 hours to lose enough blood to die. OTOH if you cut a majory artery without severing it then you will be dead within 5 minutes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzomax
Is the size of the person a time factor.?

Not really. A large person will tend to have more blood volume simply because all that extra tissue is filled with veins that need to be filled with blood. However the difference is small, and the extra length of vessels means that blood pressure is higher, so a large person might die with less blood loss than a small person. Too many other factors to say that size makes any real difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brain Wreck
Coincidentally on the Japanese tangent, the customary method of committing suicide in Samurai days was by a deep abdominal cut that would transsect the descending aorta if done properly; I imagine that would also cause very rapid death.
I'd have to see some evidence before I believed this. I've seen alot of descriptions of seppeku/ hari kiri and none of them describe anything like what you mention here. The full ritual involved several different cuts, the first of which were fairly superficial cuts through the abdominal muscles that were deliberately meant to be non-fatal. The only cut that might affect the decending aorta was the final stabbing motion, but you'd be lucky if that was the effect, rather than simply stabbing several vital organs and less important vessels.

Perhaps more pertinently I'm not sure that anyone ever actually finished the full ritual. The end result in all the acocunts I've read was that the second would behead the person well before the final cut was made.
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