Originally Posted by Fisherman
Given that Nichols had had her neck severed down to the bone and her abdomen cut very severely, so severely as to make Llewellyn say that it was enough to kill immediately - can we reason that Nichols would possibly have gone on breating for a couple of minutes? Or even a minute? Are there any examples of people with this kind of extensive damage doing that? Would not the cut off air supply to the brain ensure that we are looking at a very short period of breathing indeed?
If people with this kind of damage CAN breathe for a couple of minutes or so - is that something that is mostly an offhand possibility or is it more like a general rule that they do? Can something - anything - be said about the general possibilities that there will be this kind of breathing with these kinds of victims?
What I am asking is whether you can offer any idea of your own about how long you personally would think it likely that Nichols would have breathed. Even if you are prepared to allow for a couple of minutes, would you think it the more likely thing? If you find that a question you rather not would answer, I am fine with that.
Please note that I am not expressing an opposite view here - I am genuinely interested in finding out as much as I can, thatīs all.
In traumatic death, death results in a predictable order. Airway obstruction kills first, then problems with breathing such as massive haemothorax, then circulation e.g. haemorrhage, cardiac tamponade, then cerebral issues (which would often cause an airway obstruction first). Although the neck laceration involved the airway, it would ironically likely act to keep the airway open. There is nothing to suggest a significant thoracic injury in any of the cases with the exception of MJK so the heart-lung circulation is maintained and blood is oxygenated. As the circulating volume drops, the effective circulation becomes restricted to heart-lung-brain due to physiological vasoconstriction, so as long as the heart has sufficient oxygenated blood to keep pumping then the lungs would too. The severance of both carotid arteries would result in loss of most of the cerebral circulation and hence unconsciousness, but the hind brain which contains the respiratory centres has a separate circulation through the vertebral arteries which we have no evidence could have been cut (note the notching of the vertebral body). Thus she would likely have continued to breathe until cardiac arrest occurred - more likely due to the lack of blood than lack of oxygen within the blood. As per my previous calculations this would be in the region of a few minutes from the first cut rather than the implication of immediate.
Hope answers your questions