Friday, October 19, 2007


You have just graduated from the Austrian Academy of yodeling, waltz, and pathology. Congratulations! Your first assignment, however, is a grim one. The person shown in the image above passed away due to mysterious causes. Foul play is suspected. You find out a new chef was hired recently, but the guards said that they search everyone for poisons and the chef was clean.

Upon further investigation, you find out that the victim had a special meal prepared for him over a week ago. After a few hours, he felt really sick with a severe right upper abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. The doctors assure you that they made sure he didn't have any electrolyte or fluid imbalances.

Curiously, these symptoms resolved a few days later, but were replaced by more worrisome ones. He woke up with yellow skin and conjunctiva, exhibited signs of delirium, and even had a seizure. He then went into a coma. He passed away eight days after eating the dinner. Doctors think that he may have had renal failure.

Challenge: It was the chef in the kitchen with the...what?

Related Questions:
1. Why was the mode of death not detected by the guards?
(2. Who is the person shown in the image above?)

Image is in the public domain.

1 comment:

Craig said...


This person, Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, was poisoned by death cap (Amanita phalloides) mushrooms. While the historical details and accuracy of this is unknown, Amanita phalloides is easily used as poison. The mushrooms are difficult to distinguish from certain edible mushrooms and have no antidote. They are highly toxic with both amatoxins and phallotoxins. The principal toxin alpha-amanitin inhibits RNA polymerase II and the major damage is to the liver and kidneys. The natural history is very similar to the one described here in this case. Treatments include therapy for poisoning, supportive care, and liver transplantation.

Sources: Wikipedia.